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Growing Up

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Do you have any idea what you want to do with your life after high school? Many high school students do not, myself included. I have many ideas concerning my life after college, but I do not know what I want to do. In Russell Baker’s “Growing Up” the main purpose conveyed to the reader that it is alright to have no idea what you want to do. Baker tells the reader this by talking about poverty, hard work, and his support group.

Baker makes it clear through his tone that his family is not the most prosperous. One example Baker uses tells about his experience with spaghetti and how his family rarely ate it because of its price. This particular anecdote lets the reader understand the poverty his family faced. The understanding of poverty is crucial for the reader, as it would lead one to realise that all money earned gets put to use immediately, without being set aside. This, in turn, allows the reader to believe no money was set aside for Baker’s college.

Baker makes it clear that he would like to attend college; however, he understands with no money set aside for him he cannot go. His use of pathos here not only makes the reader feel bad for him but also Charlie Sussman, a classmate. Sussman tells baker about scholarships; and makes baker apply for some. Baker, with his mothers help, studies for several subjects to better himself for the comprehensive tests.This example of Baker’s hard work allows the reader to understand what one needs to do to get to college; even if one does not know what they want to do.  My siblings have all worked hard and earned several prestigious scholarships; I have seen first hand what hard work can do. In a few weeks time Baker received a letter informing him that he had received a full ride to John Hopkins college, in turn, showing that hard work does pay off.

Baker has a support group; he uses the group to better himself so he can better understand what he wants to do with his life. Baker uses his imagery to describe Mr. Fleagle, his english teacher, saying that he dresses very primly and all features of the man are kept in good clean order. His support group spans more than just Mr. Fleage, but also to his mother and sussman, which helps him Flourish in school, bettering him for college, even though he doesn’t know what he wants to do. We all have support groups; my family helps me discern what are valid options for the future, which classes to take, how to present myself. With the help of a good support group, things become easier to accomplish.

Baker makes it clear that a person who comes from poverty but works hard and has a good support group, that something will come up. His ethos in the story lies in that he had fought the battle, come out with a full ride scholarship to a prestigious college. Baker did not let his homelife of poverty hold him back; instead he worked hard and gave himself a change to decide what he wanted to do with his life.

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Growing Up