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Pearsall UWP 101 October 28, 2013 Success Can Happen The key to obtaining literacy, in the many forms that it exists in, plagues students learning and studying writing. It is as Knoblauch says, a “mischievous concept”, so wily in its wily ways. Many famous scholars have sought out to interpret in their own ways, to understand and to come to terms with literacy. As a person who struggled with the difficult circumstances that surrounded his growth as a writer, Mike Rose shares his climb, a successful journey to literary mastery with a happy ending for readers to enjoy. Rose imparts upon the students of the world to find their success despite the shortcomings of their educational backgrounds. He also encourages teachers to reach out to students and give them the push they need. Rose’s purpose is to emphasize the impact that external factors have on one’s success and how teachers, as an external factor, can improve in their great role in paving the way to success for students. Rose encouraging teachers to model themselves after a guideline of a humanistic approach to their students, being able to distinguish what a student needed to grow. He does this to point out how vital it is for teachers to find a way to bestow their own knowledge onto their students. Above all else, Rose desires for his readers to know that success happens, and that happy endings exist, and he especially points this fact out to those who feel lost and out of place. To accomplish this, Rose relates his own success story to display how individuals changed the course of his fate by granting the education necessary to succeed. To start, Rose

Jack McFarland recognized Rose’s aimless journey through life. Like going through a checklist. Every critical word is a word that reflects upon himself as a model teacher. providing great detail in examples of how they all imparted great knowledge and skill. The vivid recollections of the time with his teachers shows a reverence. The judgment that Rose lays upon his former teacher works to demonstrate the standards that he holds himself up to. In his story.Tran 2 makes his narrative very personal. worshipping his mentors as his saviors when in reality. Rose elicits the importance of instructors to take a genuine interest in their students. and that Rose treaded on the path of trouble. . In Rose’s case. to reach out and provide them with the attention they need. he was given a chance by these mentors to become something great and magnificent and he snatched that opportunity right up like a dog snatches a treat from when an owner throws a treat out to the dog. giving gratitude to the teachers who have guided him to success and praising their teaching techniques while generalizing some of the flaws of the education system that he felt plagued his growth. Rose’s reputation as a teacher and scholar does color the sense of the narrative. Afterwards he mentions each teacher that he felt contributed to his academic literacy and eventually his success. Rose speaks from the perspective of a student who has been through good and bad times. His existence as teacher gives credibility into the narrative because of his participation on both sides of the teacher and student relationship. These two actions bring the narrative to a personal level where his experiences illustrate the humanity and vulnerability of himself. adding details about his family and his life outside of the academy. Rose cites each teacher and the impact that each one made.

in America. The significance of this lies in Rose’s belief that success stems from outside sources. with so many platitudes about motivation and self-reliance and individualism and myths spun from them…they are serious nonsense” (Rose 99). Success comes from within and that is how American culture has always valued the work hard reward hard method. Lack of both motivation and self-reliance leads exactly to Rose’s situation before his mentor and teachers rescued him for the cycle. Rose places the responsibility of ensuring a student’s success on the teachers and away from the student. This factor of self-motivation and self-drawn passion can be changed to increase the chances of success. happy endings do not come from others bestowing success on each other. but also Rose the human as well. The American Dream thrives on this principle of great effort will produce great results. not stem solely from the effort of others. he fails to accept that it could exist beneficially for a student. Rose argues “We live. Rose deserves more credit than he gives himself. Rose makes sure to remember how this kind act not just affected Rose the student. He rejects any notion of himself as a deciding factor in his own success. Towards the later part of his life. Rose discredits himself as a factor of his own success. as a positive influence.Tran 3 McFarland goes out of his way to make phone calls to Loyola professors and have them give special attention to Rose. never existed in Rose’s life. Because this factor. Rose overcomes the apathy of his teachers and himself. However. Contrary to Rose’s belief. The emotional aspects of the human he makes . He even overcomes the death of Lou. stating how his escape from the depression and the sadness empowered him and liberated him from exclusion. In reality.

Because of this Rose felt like an outsider his freshman year at Loyola unable to interact with the deeper meanings of class because he did not possess the skills to be a “literary critic one day and as an experimental psychologist the next” (Bartholomae 208). Going to a mediocre school with mediocre teachers certainly underperform compared to a school with the resources to fund higher quality teachers. Rose recalls how growing up in an impoverished neighborhood hindered his cognitive development because of the lack of support required to reach a higher education in such circumstances. Rose’s entry into college actually introduces him to a world he cannot join. Rose could not expose himself to the language of higher learning. Bartholomae relates how learning how to speak the language of a discourse grants entrance to a community and Rose seeks this very literacy. As we in see in Rose’s narrative. As a youngster. It is for this Factors that lead to failure include upbringing. The teachers of his childhood failed to generate an interest in Rose and the result of that was his incompetence at tackling sophisticated works that required a higher level of reading comprehension. Being raised in certain environments can impede the growth of a student. In his narrative. a world where Rose’s upbringing has affected his entrance to the discourse communities of the school. the lack of genuinely good teachers result in Rose’s inferior writing skills compared to his classmates’ writing. the achievement of academic literacy constitutes Rose’s overall success and to his happy ending. As a result.Tran 4 himself out to be is sensitive to the feelings of depression and exclusion that did not help. In Rose’s case. to gain entrance and to feel included. .

were he in that situation. Rose covers how everything before college worked against his development as a writer and a member of the academic discourse community. Clearly. That way of thinking would only work to compromise Rose’s reputation as a respected teacher and scholar. Everyone has their own challenges that they must overcome. schools would provide the resources and the teachers that Rose claims. Rose overcomes these challenges and hurdles through the help of his teachers. to enable him to obtain the ability to write at a higher level at a younger age. However. suffer through an inadequate education system and somehow discover four to five individuals who happen to care about people and understand exactly how to bestow the knowledge of acquiring literacy. and there is always a way to achieve success. A person learning an Olympian athlete coach would surely excel greater than one learning from a high school coach. In a much broader sense. In fact. the purpose of Rose’s narrative of how he acquired academic literacy is to show that it can be done. . The context of the environment in which Rose imagines a nice upbringing can easily extend to some great teachers which would definitely prevent a situation like Rose’s childhood from beginning. Rose’s individual story does not mean to give the message that literacy can be acquired by following his path word for word. the circumstances that he grew up with alienate his readers from even coming close to emulating. Yet. Rose does not expect everyone to grow up in a poverty-stricken area in the Los Angeles area.Tran 5 In another world where people live in richer neighborhoods and hold a higher standard to education.

Print. Composing Knowledge: Readings for College Writers. Rolf. Helene Moglen. New York: MLA. Ed. C. 1990 . Martin’s. “Literacy and the Politics of Education. and James Slevin. Andrea A.Tran 6 Norgaard. Boston: Bedford/ St.H. 2007.” The Right to Literacy. Knoblauch. Lunsford.