In this essay I will be explaining how Ron Suskind presents the difficulties of Cedric’s education in part one and part two of his articles. This story is about a boy named Cedric who faces difficulties in his school, Ballou High due to the reputation of his school. His school is ‘crime infested’ and he receives a lot of verbal abuse from students at Ballou High and M.I.T. Throughout the articles Suskind uses various language devices such as metaphors, personification and hyperbole, to suggest that Cedric had a difficulty with his education.
One language device Ron Suskind uses in his articles is the metaphor. An example of when he uses a metaphor in part one is, ‘The arduous odyssey of Cedric’. This metaphor talks about how Cedric faces individual problems at his school, Ballou High, such as bullying and underachieving. The quote is trying to imply that Cedric is on a long, difficult journey, just like the character in the Greek myth the odyssey. We can see this where it says ‘arduous odyssey’, it is explaining that Cedric is struggling in school. The word ‘arduous’ suggests that for Cedric to achieve well it will involve or require strenuous effort, it will be difficult and tiring. The Odyssey is a Greek myth about a guy who goes on a long, hard journey to achieve what he wants. This is how Suskind tells us that Cedric is having a difficult and tiring time at Ballou High.
The metaphor ‘The arduous odyssey of Cedric’ talks about Cedric’s journey and individual problems at Ballou High. However Suskind uses a different metaphor, ‘I tell him those people on the sideline already out of the race’ which talks about the problems that Cedric and the achieving students face as a collective. Here we can see that Cedric is trying to achieve good grades at M.I.T but his journey to have a great education is like a race. It is competitive and there are a lot of obstacles in the way. He needs to stay focused and not look at other people in the race hence why his teacher tells him ‘people on the sideline are already out of the race’. This quote shows Cedric as part of a collective because everybody in the race is facing the same thing. They all want to come first but in order to do that they all need to focus. This is how Suskind contrasts the two quotes.
A substitute language technique that Ron Suskind uses is personification. An illustration of this is when he endorses the quote ‘Failure is persuasive here, even seductive’. This quote compares with another quote ‘detonations of self doubt has now become audible’. These quotes are similar because both of them are based on failure. The first quote is talking about failure in a subtle way. This quotation is personification because Suskind, the writer is trying to say that the kids there actually want to learn, they actually want to achieve well but in a way they are forced not to achieve well because the majority of people in that school do not do well in school. Personification is when an object is described or spoken about as if it were a person. This links back to what Ron Suskind did in his article. He wrote about failure as if it were a person going around and seducing the students into not achieving well. That is what failure is doing in Ballou high. The second quote ‘detonations of self doubt has now become audible’ is addressing failure in a harsh way. A detonation is an explosion, so for Suskind to say that for Cedric, detonations of self doubt has now become audible is implying that before, Cedrics doubt of not achieving in M.I.T was very low, but now his doubt is high. The detonations of his doubt are now audible, which means his doubt is now being voiced to other people.
In part two of Ron Suskind’s article he introduces a new language technique. This technique is hyperbole. We can see this when he quotes ‘for Cedric, M.I.T has taken on almost mythic proportions’. Here Ron is trying to imply that Cedric has had to work his very hardest so that he can get into M.I.T. A myth is a story that is not true that people usually tell kids to learn a moral. The characters in the myths usually have to go through a great deal of struggles to get what they desire in the end. Suskind is trying to imply that Cedric has had to go through a deal of great things to get to M.I.T just like the hero in the myth, it shows Cedric’s determination to have a good education.
The metaphor is a very popular asset in Suskind’s articles as we can see that he uses it again in part two. He quotes ‘Mr Washington vends his frustration at how the deck is stacked against unprivileged students like Cedric and Neda’. The writer is trying to say that the education system is unfair to students like Cedric and Neda because they didn’t get a good education before they came to M.I.T. We can see this where it says ‘the deck is stacked against unprivileged students’. Everybody in M.I.T has a head start because they were actually taught in their schools. It means Cedric has to work just as hard to catch up. Suskind uses another metaphor ‘But where I start from is so far behind where some other kids are, I have to run twice the distance to catch up.’ Here the writer tells us that because of Cedric’s level of achievement at Ballou High, he has to work twice as hard because he is no where as near the other students in M.I.T who have already received great education. This quote is quite similar to the quote ‘The deck is stacked against unprivileged students like Cedric and Neda’ in the sense that they both focus on the point that Cedric’s time in Ballou high wasn’t so great and that he has to work twice as hard if he wants to achieve the same as the students in M.I.T who are already ahead.
In conclusion we can see that Ron Suskind uses various language techniques, compares and contrasts to present to us Cedric’s difficulties because he uses three main language techniques metaphor, personification and hyperbole. The way in which Suskind utilizes these techniques are very powerful. By Ron Suskind using these techniques we can now get a sense of how Cedric has struggled in school. The use of language techniques brings us into the story and allows us to see life from Cedric’s perspective.