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“The Smell of Success Isn’t That Sweet”

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    SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS Critical analysis of “The Sweet Smell of Success Isn’t All That Sweet” By: Maggie Yi A00631572 Instructor: Karyn Huenemann Use a serif font (the same font) for the entire paper Oct. 15, 2012 Critical Analysis of “The Sweet Smell of Success Isn’t All That Sweet” In “The Sweet of Success Isn’t All That Sweet,” writer Laurence Shames emphasizes that people should accept failure as a having positive instead of purely negative attributes [is this really his point?

    Simplifying it thus changes his meaning]. Shames’s purpose is to clarify the true meaning of success and what people can learn from the process of becoming a successful person, rather than what it looks like when a person ends up with what society may label success. Shames adopts an ironic tone and uses an organic arrangement to define what the true meaning of success is [his statements are intended to apply to all of Western or at least North American society, not just his readers].

    Success can be interpreted from different perspectives and shown in different ways [yes, but Shames is explicitly stating that MOST (not “some”) people view it one way: the wrong way. ]. The current social definition of success involves high-paying jobs, gorgeous houses, and expensive meals in fancy restaurants; Shames, however, argues against this particular idea of success and claims that each person should create his or her own individual goals and definition of success [partially, but mainly that “the journey not the arrival matters” to quote Leonard Woolf].

    To begin the essay, Shames presents[“to begin” and “starts” are redundant] three examples of failure—according to their contemporary social standards—to express how one can face and deal with a failure, develop one’s own strength, and put personal attitude into one’s work[is this what he is doing? Rather, he is presenting three individuals who are now considered famous and successful, but at the time were considered failures… so think about why he is doing this, and what it means vis-a-vis our definitions today]. The author relates this back to the main idea and question of the essay: what is success?

    In the middle section, Shames continues his ironic essay by questioning what the real definition of success is in today’s current society. Using two examples, Shames shows that drinking premium beer and owning a particular credit card are now visible measures of how successful a person is. He asserts that a person should be patient and remain motivated even on the smallest of tasks [what has this to do with the commercials: each of your sentences, each idea, should flow one into the next, taking your reader with you].

    By accumulating many small steps, one can accomplish a big step [what has this to do with either your previous statements, or Shames’s rhetoric? ]. By connecting the two examples, Shames writes about an MBA student and lawyers [how are these connected? You say they are, but it is not obvious how… ]. MBA and legal degrees are an entry ticket into the upper social class, yet the certificate itself is no guarantee that the student is actually experienced or qualified for the job [true, but what has this to do with how Shames defines success: do not focus on content, but on rhetoric].

    Students must confront failure bravely by learning in school, which can ironically sometimes leads to success. According to Shames, we should have more tolerance “for the person, who aims gloriously high and falls unashamedly short” (ref). [Yes, but your ideas are not linked; I cannot tell how it all fits together to reveal Shames’s intent]These outpourings of emotion [too strong an expression: this is not what an “outpouring of emotion” looks like]from those examples show the purpose of the Shames essay: people have to be prepared to fail over and over again in order to achieve their goals and in the end, success.

    Shames knows exactly who his particular audience is[this clause is good, but what does the following clause mean? ] that he can use the harsh sentence to present the deep meaning of success and describe why it is necessary to go through and enjoy the process of success. Because for the school students who are willing to get the higher education in order to become more powerful person in the world have to be taught more strictly [perhaps we need to meet; your sentences don’t actually make sense, and it is difficult to determine what you are trying to say].

    People often evaluate a person’s degree of success by looking at his or her appearance, including the cost of what they wear; however, Shames argues that the only way to gauge if individuals are successful or not is by looking at their path to success and their failures. Furthermore, we should ask, what did she or he actually learn or provide for society? [but you can’t, of course, tell this by looking at anyone…] Take famous movie stars for example [do not bring in your own examples; use Shames’s only, and specify that they are his].

    Nobody pays attention to what contributed their beingstars; people only focus on the fact that they are famous and therefore successful. The true measure of success, Shames asserts, is what made the stars famous in the first place: hard work, resolve, and perseverance, which in turn lead to public recognition. So Shames expresses that “we live in a world where success is proved by worldly reward rather than by accomplishment itself” (ref). [what you believe is irrelevant to your discussion of Shames’s rhetoric: you are discussing how he proves his point, not whether or not he is correct. Shames also indicates that students should be rewarded more from the learning experiences to build up better foundation, rather than achieving a good grade [not obvious in what you say whether their external reward should be the work itself, or whether they should consider themselves rewarded more by the learning than the grade…]. To be able to accept grand failure is the foundation of success; failure helps one grow one’s practical experience and be determined to achieve one’s goals. again, Shames’s rhetoric, not his content]Sometimes failure will hurt, but it will be that much sweeter in the end when you reach your own definition of success. Reference Shames, L. (2010). The sweet smell of success isn’t all that sweet. In J. A. Reinking, R. von der Osten, S. A. Cairns, & R. Fleming (Eds. ), Strategies for successful writing: A rhetoric, research guide, reader, and handbook (4th ed. , pp. 243-244). Toronto: Pearson. .

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