Christina Anderson Mr. Kingsley Eng105 1 February 2012 Life Lessons from the Farm Jessica Hemauer’s essay, “Farm Girl,” tells her life story of living on a farm through her eyes as ten-year-old child to the time of her early adulthood. The purpose of this piece is to teach the importance of life’s responsibilities to children, mainly female, and young adults who may not be familiar with the challenges life can bring and to promote the benefits you can gain by overcoming those obstacles.
Hemauer uses pathos, which appeals to emotion, logos, designed to engage our logic, and ethos, to prove its credibility, to convey that though growing up on a family farm was a struggle day-to-day, it was valuable life lesson because it shaped her into the well-rounded and hard working person she is today. The essay opens with Hemauer’s with the immediate use of pathos to capture the audience’s emotions and to gain their sympathy towards Jessica. This is seen in the first sentence, when she is begrudgingly awakened by her alarm clock, “BEEP!
BEEP! BEEP! It’s 5:00 a. m. My eyes are heavy with sleep and struggle to open”(83). Hemauer uses specific words to achieve ethos, such as, “heavy” and “struggle” to convey that, at age ten, she was already faced with tremendous responsibility and commitment everyday, when she heard the sound of her alarm clock. The use of “5:00 a. m. ” also is used to attain sympathy because, in most cases, five in the morning would bring about a sense of disdain at any age, which can then relate back to Hemauer’s audience.
Hemauer wants the young readers to attain that sympathy while reading the story so that they may reflect on their own lives and recognize the privileges they have, such as, not having to wake up at five in the morning everyday, and be grateful for them. Hamauer continues with her use of pathos to awaken the readers of the true struggle and difficulty that is attached to being a young person with responsibilities. While walking down the stairs, in a sleepy daze, to get to the barn, Jessica is startled awake when the door opens to, “a brisk and bitter wind accompanied by icy snowflakes that feel like needles digging into our faces”(83).
The language that Hemauer uses in this citation, specifically, “bitter,” “icy,” and “needles digging into,” evokes complete sympathy for this young girl. It also affects the audience with a twinge of pain due to the imagery describing the bitter cold and the fact that she must endure it. Jessica Hemauer is able to appeal to both pathos and logos in her writing as well. This is shown after the children reach the barn and begin to work on their chores. Jessica’s job is to feed the newborn calves, she indicates, “Because I am the youngest in the family, this is my favorite chore because I rarely have a chance to look after someone…”(84).
The sense of pathos is obtained in this quotation because Hemauer uses certain words, such as, “favorite chore” and “rarely” to attain sympathy from the reader, by portraying that she was deprived and that she seeked enjoyment from her “favorite chore. ” For a child or young adult who does not have day to day responsibilities, such as chores, they would view this with a sense of gratitude for the lifestyle that they have. This statement also gives a sense of logos because it is a cause and effect situation.
Hemauer states that because she is the youngest, she rarely has the chance to look after others. This would make sense to Hemauer audience do to their age demographic. The young readers could view themselves in a similar situation by not be trusted with great responsibility due to their age. Though Jessica Hemauer appeals to pathos in her writing, she also addresses logos as well. For example, when Jessica considers being more involved in her school she realizes there is no possible way, by stating, “If I join a club that practices after school, I can’t participate.
If I join a club that meets before school, I can’t attend meetings”(85). Hemauer uses logos in this specific case to clearly address the predicament that Jessica struggles with when it comes to responsibility and personal preference. This may be difficult for her audience to understand because, most likely, children or young adults that have had the privilege of growing up without having to make these sorts of decisions could not relate. Most often then not, the only thing that children have is free time.
This further proves the author’s purpose for this essay because it demonstrates to children or young adults with less responsibility that, when it comes down to it, you will have to make the sacrifice of what you want for the responsibilities that you already have. Furthermore, Hemauer uses logos later in her essay, to explain some of the benefits of having a large amount of responsibility at such a young age. This is shown when she is reflecting on her past experiences and how they have helped her today, by saying, “I have always had a challenging amount of responsibility, and I have learned to complete tasks in a timely fashion”(86).
The audience will view this as a challenge and a possible goal to set for themselves by seeing her accomplishments due to her initial struggle, further proving the author’s purpose for this piece. This aids to Hemauer’s ethos as well because she is proof, as an author, as to how time management and responsibility has shaped and benefited her. Hemauer’s “Farm Girl” is a reputable source for ethos due to the fact that it is an autobiographical essay. Hemauer is telling the audience the story of her memoir based true occurrences that happened in her life on her family farm.
These events describe the endeavors she faced and the accomplishments she obtained due to the effort that she put forth everyday from a young age till now, as a successful author. Though the target audience for this piece may experience difficulty relating specifically to certain events, such as, walking a half a mile in a blizzard to reach barn to milk cows, they understand what it is like to be a child and what they desire. They know from reading “Farm Girl” that Hemauer did not always enjoy life on the farm but in the end, it made her a stronger person.
Hemauer truly practices what she preaches, which demonstrates a great source of trust and ethos towards her readers. Jessica Hemauer displays ethos within “Farm Girl” as well by showing credible and believable sources within the story. An example of this can be found at the end of the essay, when Jessica’s Boss is paying her a compliment by asking where he can find more people like herself; her response is, “Try hiring some farm girls. I hear they turn out pretty good”(87). Within this statement, the audience can come to the conclusion that Jessica Hemauer’s work shows good example of ethos due to the inclusion of the bosses’ question.
The ethos that forms from that statement is telling the audience that due to the fact that she is a hardworking, determined, and successful worker, she did not need to tell us that she is good; she can have the support of others to tell her she is instead. In conclusion, Jessica Hemauer’s essay, “Farm Girl,” is an inspiration towards those who may not be burden by great responsibility at a young age. Hemauer achieves this through her use of pathos, by indicating her past struggles through a sense of sympathy, and by doing so, she is able to reach out to the audience.
The author was a success through her indication of logos by presenting her logical analysis towards Jessica’s time management predicament. Lastly, Hemauer not only indicated the use of ethos with her essay, by giving the audience a credible source to trust, being an autobiographical piece, but the audience knows that the essay is credible and believable due to the examples she presents within the essay. The combination of these three elements makes “Farm Girl” an influential essay that teaches the lesson that hard work really does pay off in the end.