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Growing Up


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Growing up through different generations has changed a lot over the many decades of the twenty and twenty-first centuries. In the current day and age, many youth have the opportunity to go to college and get scholarships while back at the turn of the century, it was much different. In the story, we watch Russell Baker is going through his last year of high school still not knowing what he was going to do with his life and what job he was going to do. The author, also the main character, uses the three rhetorical strategies, logos, ethos, and pathos, to connect the reader to the story. Baker also uses them to prove his point that if someone wants a certain goal or wish to happen, he or she has to work at it.

Logos, used to connect the reader to the literary work by using logic, is one example of a strategy used by Baker. In the story Russell knew he wouldn’t get anywhere or get any future scholarships if he did not work at it. Once he found out he had a knack for writing from his essay assignment in Mr. Fleagle’s class, the only thing he knew he needed to work on was his math. So wouldn’t it make sense that he worked on it to study the scholarship test. He he not studied weeks before, he wouldn’t have had a very good chance at the scholarship.

Pathos, use to connect the reader to the literary work by using emotions and feelings, is another example of a strategy used by the author. At the beginning of the book, the opening sentence is “Something will come along” and at the end it changes to “Something came along” The middle paragraphs show the growth of Russell not knowing what is going to happen to finding what he is good at and working to get his scholarship. You can feel a connection as you read the story and you want him to be successful. For someone that worked as hard as he has to get where he is at the end of the story, you know he deserved everything he has worked for.

The final strategy the author used is ethos, or connecting the reader to the book with credibility. We read in the story that he works in a grocery and has to work under odd characters like his boss, Mr. Simmons. Simmons is a very creepy fellow, who does some suspicious thing in the store. As we can tell while reading about what happens, Russell does not want to be anything like Simmons. In fact, he doesn’t want to be a grocery clerk for the rest of my life. He isn’t getting any promotions and has a better chance in the writing industry, which is something he enjoys much more.

“Growing Up” by Russell Baker is a short story with the exigence of showing how in his senior year of high school how he went from not knowing what he will do for a job to finding his passion to making it to college. Baker uses his rhetorical strategies to further show his audience how he made his way to where he was after writing the book and how hard work and determination got him to his main goal and being successful in his life.

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One Response to “Growing Up”

  1. McKayla Thompson on October 11th, 2018 11:20 am

    Great article Lauren! You did a great job at explaining the rhetorical strategies throughout the book. I also read the story of Russell Baker, and I thought it was a great story. I like the conclusion you wrote; it helps bring your points back to your thesis statement. Keep up the good writing!

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Growing Up