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A Summery of “on Becoming a Writer”

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jmcclimans
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Exploring Your Desires
A Summery of “On Becoming a Writer”

“On Becoming a Writer” is an essay by Russell Baker, who was born in Virginia in 1925. It is an excerpt taken from the Pulitzer Prize - winning memoir Growing Up. Baker shares his inspirational story and reminds students and young adults not to be afraid to explore their desires. The excerpt centers around the pivotal moment, when Baker explores his desires and realizes that he wants to be a writer.

In the first part of the story, Baker describes how writing interested him, but there were so many other unattractive things about English. He talked about how boring Grammar was and that writing papers were like a chore and robotic. He even said that reading the classics were “deadening as chloroform” (Baker, 1982). Baker touches on a good point in this section. School, for a lot of students, ends up being dull and repetitious due to boring subject matter. When teachers put a little thought and effort into the subject matter and allow students to be creative, it can make subjects more appealing and help keep students interest.

Baker then takes us to his junior year, with Mr. Feagles. Baker describes Mr. Feagles as a pristine, out of touch teacher, that was “prim to a fault” (Baker, 1982). For the first part of the year, Mr. Feagles class fails to spark any interest in Baker. That is, until Mr. Feagles gives the class an informal essay assignment. Baker, like a typical highs school student, procrastinates until the night before the assignment is due. He fumbles through the dull list of topics, until his eyes fall upon “The Art of Eating Spaghetti” (Baker, 1982). This title brings him back to a happy place, with his family sitting around the table, eating their first spaghetti diner. He is so overcome by this feeling that he secretly wants to write the topic and keep it for himself....

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