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The voice of a child is the human spirit that Faulkner hopes to grasp in modern writing. The innocence creates depth and reminds the reader of themselves. After seeing his father in a car, about to go to the hospital, Russell describes his father as " wearing his blue serge suit, white shirt, and necktie, and [he] looked alright to me." This captures the innocence Faulkner wants to see more of. His description is so unaware and truthful and it seems as though the reader could have said it when they were younger. The description is frank, not metaphorical, complex, or insightful. The insight is left up to the reader. The quote is also affective because it does not glorify his father or himself. Unlike many readers who embellish their stories, making family members (and, in particular, themselves) look better, Baker leaves himself susceptible to being judged as immature and as treating a grave situation (his father's sickness) as though it was unimportant.
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Faulkner emphasizes the importance of making something out of the human soul, a strong motif in Growing Up. This universal pressure to make a mark on the world before passing on is displayed well between Russell and his mother. When asked if he wants to be the President, Russell replies with a no' and says that he wants " to be a garbage man." Numerous times throughout the book, his mother answers in both anger and disappointment "Have a little gumption, Russell." Does his lack of interest in being the president mean that he doesn't have any character? Do his goals have to be unrealistic? They should not have to be. However, in today's society, goals are extremely high. The pressure to be accepted at a great college and become a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or other respectable job is very strong. Including a motif of the pressure to become something makes the book relate to readers' daily lives. While the pressure motif looms over the head of the reader, it also looms over the head of the book.
Upon receiving the Nobel Prize, Faulkner said that he felt the award was not made to him as a man, but to his work. He thought that man would survive because of his spirit, pride, compassion, honor, sacrifice, and truth, and that the truth would take a writer to the spirit of the reader. Baker did not live his live according to what Faulkner said, preparing to write a memoir with every step that he took. He simply followed the path of truth and honesty which created a vibrant, thought-provoking book. After reading Growing Up, I feel like I have lived through another childhood. The pressures, decisions, and innocence that is exposed through his writing comes through not with force, but with clean, honest writing. It does not take a story-teller to write a story following Faulkner's proposals, it simply takes growing up.