Rhetorical Analysis of Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

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Kindergarten: In Deep with Robert Fulghum

Memories of kindergarten usually consist of crayons, singing, and holding hands, but tto writer Robert Fulghum, kindergarten is more than just learning your ABC’s. In his essay All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, he states that “ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten,” (1). Fulghum clearly and effectively gets his point across with a matter-of-fact list that he supports later on in the essay with thoughtful details. His simple and relatable style allows the readers to both enjoy and understand his stance.

Fulghum communicates his main points by organizing them in a list. Although it begins with the routine and stale rules of kindergarten, it progresses to be more specific and comical, and in turn keeps the reader engaged in the material. For example, he writes “Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup- they all die. So do we,” which makes us stop to think and reminisce and desire to read on (2). Though the presentation is simple, it allows the reader to focus on the context of the work. After listing his ideas, Fulghum elaborates on them by presenting examples of how adults, such as the government, would apply these seemingly childish rules to present life by “[having] a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess,” (2). At first glance, his listed points appear to be mediocre, but prove to be a sturdy foundation for supporting details.

His greatest ally is his simplicity and ability to connect with his audience. Not only does his easygoing style make it easier for readers to follow, but allows them to fully comprehend his Yung 2

ideas as well. Kindergarten is something many have surely experienced, so they are no strangers to The Golden Rule; therefore, relating to Fulghum’s concept is effortless. There is a sense of urgency in his tone, but...
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