Putting a Price on Life

Alex Arellano, in his essay “Putting a Price on Life,” illuminates the internal struggle that every prospective medical student today is faced with: is medical school worth the overwhelming cost? Arellano displays his argument through an array of facts, statistics, specific examples, and personal experiences, which all come together to reveal the direness of the situation. The amount of doctors coming out of medical school is decreasing, yet the amount of patients who need them is growing constantly. The proposed solution to this problem, close to the end of the essay, feels weak due to its out-of-the-blue nature and lack of specific evidence, which undermines its goal. The essay, while thorough with its logistical information and emotional impact, tends to be somewhat repetitive in its main points and overall message.


The conclusion, which leaves the reader with their final impression of the essay, holds a powerful force of emotion within this essay. The use of emotionally-charged language dominates the final paragraph, with Arellano using contrasts such as “dream” and “nightmare”, and weighted words such as “crisis.” He highlights America as “the land of opportunity,” and then describes how he is left confined by the “price tag” of his dreams (Arellano). The emotional impact that this enforces is great, and the reader is left with a feeling reminiscent of guilt, wondering how this problem grew so large without anyone doing something about it. It is a question that leaves one feeling hopeless, ironic due to the inclusion of the word “hopeful” in the very last sentence. More importantly, it is a question that gives the reader something to feel, whether it be anger or sadness or inspiration, and it makes the essay mean something more than just numbers and studies.

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