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Russell Baker, talks about his old and ailing mother in “In My Day”. With her growing age grew her senility, and she behaved like a young child on some days, while she invited her son to her funeral some other days. The author’s main purpose is to unravel the human emotions and highlighting some of the shortcomings we have as humans. He speaks both in subjective and objective terms as he tells of how we all have a habit of bringing to the forefront our past lives, but not realizing that the person who is addressed has no connection with it and is totally indifferent towards it.
The stream of thought becomes more subjective when he presents his realizations after meeting his mother and wished to respect his past when he says, “These hopeless end-of-the-line visits with my mother made me wish I had not thrown off my own past so carelessly.”
The dominant impression is formed with care as he presents the details of the mental state her mother is in and the reader is glum upon identifying that.
The description of his mother’s character is again done in a beautiful manner and we get a clear idea of the power she exudes as a woman, he calls her a “formidable woman”. The sensory descriptions are especially notable in “In My Day”, when Russell has given descriptions such as “view of hazy blue Virginia Mountains behind the apple orchard”, “a doll with huge, fierce eyes” and more such descriptions of the past incidents.
These techniques combined together make this piece interesting and captivating for the readers.
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