A Summary of Russell Baker’s “Gumption”

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Russell Baker, an 8-year-old boy, lacks gumption and is not interested in becoming a successful person like other kids. He wants to become a garbage man when he grows up. His mom is upset with him because she wants him to become successful and support his family. Russell becomes a salesman at the age of 8, but he struggles to sell anything until his mom teaches him salesmanship. One day, his sister helps him sell all of his magazines. At the age of 13, Russell writes a short composition, which his teacher grades with an A, and his mom encourages him to become a writer because he doesn’t need gumption for that.

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Russell Baker is an 8 years old boy who lack of gumption, although, his sister, Doris, who is 2 years younger than Russell has completely different attitude than him. She is smart and bold. Because of Russell’s lack of gumption, he doesn’t have any job in the beginning; he also didn’t want to be a great person like other kids wanted instead he wanted to be a garbage man when he grows up.

Her mom always upset with him because he is lack of gumption. She doesn’t want Russell to be like his dad, a low class worker, who died 2 years ago leaving his legacy, a few pieces of sears and Roebuck furniture.She wants that Russell became a successful man who works in office, white collars and big salary that can support his family. By the age of 8 Russell became a salesman who works in Saturday Evening Post.

At first, he didn’t sell anything because he did not have the salesmanship. His mom instructed him about the salesmanship. She said that Russell needs to have ring doorbells, address adults with charming self-confidence, and break down resistance with a sales talk pointing out that no one could afford to be without Saturday Evening Post.One day, it was raining hard outside and Russell unable to sell his magazine.

He got home and told his mom about it and then his mom told his sister to go back to help him to sell his magazine. She was able to sell all of the magazines because her excellence on salesmanship. At the age of 13, Russell brought home a short “composition” on his summer vacation which the teacher had graded with an A, his mom was so happy that she told him to become a writer. Russell like the idea becomes a writer because he doesn’t have to ring the doorbell, rejected by strangers, and a writer doesn’t need any gumption at all.

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A Summary of Russell Baker’s “Gumption”. (2018, Feb 24). Retrieved from


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