California Dreaming


The Ballad of Lucy Whipple

Persuasive Essay Assignment

by Sean Sharpes

People have been dreaming about California and striking it rich for years. The Gold Rush has brought hundreds of thousands of people to the west coast. Are you thinking about making the trip? Don’t go! Moving to California is a terrible idea! It’s extremely expensive, the trip is exhausting and it’s 1852 so you probably won’t find gold anyway.

When you head out west you need to buy lots of things like a wagon, oxen or mules, tools, spare parts, clothing, food and general supplies. You also need money on trail and when you get there. The trip might cost you $1000, which is hard to get when most people only make a few dollars a week. That’s pricey. Even worse, it could cost you your life!

It will take a long time to get there. California is 5 months away. The first part might seem easy when riding over the grassy prairie. Shortly you will be crossing giant hills, raging rivers, the steep Rocky Mountains, and the freezing Sierra Nevada. All these obstacles will take you weeks of travel. You will probably be tired, hungry, and parched.

Even if you make it, gold is not that easy find anymore. All those rumors you heard about gold filling the rivers and laying on the ground aren’t true. Very few prospectors have stuck it rich. Most of them have only found a few small nuggets, a bit of gold dust or nothing at all. They ended up working in the city or went back home.

Moving to California is not worth the trouble. Why would you want to spend years of income and go on this unbearable trip just to chase after some California gold you probably won’t find? So tell anyone who has California on his or her mind to go to Oregon instead!

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