“On Becoming a Writer” by Russell Baker

When I started reading “On Becoming a Writer,” I was automatically hooked.  Whenever I read a short story or a novel, the beginning is usually the dullest because I am easing into the story.  In this story, however, Russell Baker starts with a flashback that engages the reader right away.  In the very first sentence, I already had an image of him as a sixteen year old and was inclined to continue reading.  In the second paragraph, I could tell that Baker has much experience with writing to share experiences.  I noticed this when he stated that he had always been bored with English courses.  By stating this, he was connecting to a college student who may be getting tired of reading through textbooks.  As the story proceeded, Baker states that he thought it would be another boring year in English with a seemingly all-around “prim” (82) teacher named Mr. Fleagle.  Not only was I enjoying the story, but I also laughed out loud when Baker incorporated humor by stating, “The idea of prim Mr. Fleagle plucking his nipple from boneless gums was too much for the class” (82).  Later on in page 82, I found myself wondering when the turning point would be, and also when or how Mr. Fleagle would influence Baker to become a writer.  From all of the descriptions provided in the story up to that point, it seemed as though Mr. Fleagle was indeed another boring and prim teacher. At the end of page 82, Baker began to explore the fun side of writing and the story peaked.  On page 83, Baker was rewarded for writing “the very essence of the essay,” (83) that he originally thought would “violate all the rules of formal composition” (83).  I found this story very interesting because I found that we may never know what we truly love until we try it. Holla. 



One Response to ““On Becoming a Writer” by Russell Baker”

  1. Valerie Says:

    Great job Evan! You did a wonderful job of analyzing the piece, and pointing out devices Baker uses to relay his experience to the reader. Way to engage with your reading! And nice video link… holla!


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