A Big Life Essay

1068 words - 5 pages

How much is the burden of student loans affecting the personal lives of students after completing their education? The degree to which a person will have a financially successful future is largely depended on getting a good education. However, not everyone can manage to pay for that education. Therefore, students often resort to taking out student loans to help them compensate for their education. According to some sources, the average amount of student debt is equivalent to the price of a new car. Like many other Americans, Wearing Thin faces the same problem of repaying those student loans without family support and claims that the loans “are the cause of almost every stress in [her] life.” Not only does she associate her student loans with stress, but also states that her life is defined by her student loans. In the article “A Big Life”, Thin seeks advice and reaches out to Cheryl Strayed, a writer, and asks her for her perspective on the situation. Cheryl, referred to as “Sugar” in the article, writes back claiming that she too is a victim of student debt. She forms a connection with Thin and provides hope by advising her to accept the student loans and to move forward from there. By establishing her credibility through sharing her life experiences and appealing to emotions through the use of empathy, Sugar attempts to inspire in Thin a sense of hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Sugar, in order establish ethos in her response, immediately asserts her credibility by claiming that she too has been through the same phase as the one Thin is currently in. Sugar starts off her essay with a personal anecdote saying that Thin’s "freaking out” about student load debt is useless. She claims that she too “received zero funding from [her] parents” but that has not slowed her down a bit. She immediately establishes the letter as informal and personal. Sugar comforts Thin by agreeing to the fact that paying off student loans without family support can be tough and states that “it’s a hard thing…I know, honey bun. I really, really, really do.” Forget being a stranger, Sugar seems to play more of a mentor role than she does of a writer. Sugar repeatedly stresses the word “really” in order to make Thin believe that she really does know what it feels like to be in her situation. Later, she also goes on to call Thin her “sweet pea.” Since Sugar has been through the same problems in her life, she seems to be more sentimental towards Thin. Sugar then goes to state that during the years of working to pay off her debts “I sometimes wept with rage…I was forced, by accident of birth, to work one job from another in a desperate attempt to pay the bills.” She shares her personal story to make Thin realize that some people have it worse than her and that she is not the only one. She further her story by sharing that “I worked as a janitor’s assistant (humiliatingly, at my high school), fast-food restaurant worker, [and] a...

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