In the following passage near the end of Traffic, Ruskin shifts the balance of power from himself to his audience. He charges his listeners with the responsibility of initiating change, admitting that he cannot do it himself, and insists on the power of the collective for fueling growth.

You will tell me I need not preach against these things, for I cannot mend them. No, good friends, I cannot: but you can, and you will; or something else can and will. Even good things have no abiding power — and shall these evil things persist in victorious evil? All history shows, on the contralry, that to be the exact thing they never can do. Change must come: but it is ours to determine whether change of groth or change of death. Shall the Parthenon be ruins on its rock, and Bolton priory in its meadow, but these mills of yours be the consummation of the buildings of the earth, and their wheels be as the wheels of eternity? Think you that 'men may come and men may go, 'but — mills — go on forever? Not so; out of these, better or worse shall come; and it is for you to choose which.

In this passage Ruskin imparts the mechanism for change first in "you," inferring his audience. He then refers to the responsibilty as ours, including himself in the task and equalizing the power balance. Lastly, he reiterates the power that his listeners have by giving them the ultimate chioce. How does this passage culminate Ruskin's argument and point it towards conclusion? How does the rhetorical stucture of the passage reflect the piece in its entirety? Does this passage adequately set up or lead into his sermon-like final section?


Website Overview Screen John Ruskin Leading Questions

Last modified 26 February 2002