Influence of Class on an Individual’s Identity
Each f these writer’s at one point or another had to make the decision of “How does class influence identity” and each of them confronted this topic in different ways.
Horopito Lager’s “Ragged Dick” is a book based upon the fact that success is based upon an individual’s merit. Alger tackles the concept of class and its affect on one’s identity very slowly. He is hesitant because it would go against the morale he is portraying. This rags to riches story is too naive, it only depicts the fact that the main character (Richard Dick) moves up in life due to his actions and nothing more.Dick’s boss in the story, Mr.. Rockwell offers dick the job based solely on merit and does not look at Dick’s socioeconomic standing.
Dick is the one in the story who makes the slightest change on identity based upon his new position.
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When Mr.. Rockwell asked, “How would you like to enter my counting-room as clerk, Richard? ” Dick was about to reply, ‘Bully,” when he recollected himself, and responded, “Very much. ” This change depicts that Dick is aware that he now is in higher position and therefore his regular slang “Bully” would not be acceptable.Alger maintains that class has no major influence on society. As is seen when Dick returns the favor and hands over his old job to Johnny Nolan.
This story however does not hold a strong of an argument because Lager’s view of what affects identity is too narrow. It fails to mention the affect of Race, Education, Qualifications and Connections. These factors are purposely left out by Alger because they contradict his idea that merit is the underlying factor. However, in the actual these factors would be what decide class mobility.These factors most often decide if you get the position. The failure to mention these factors made this story unbelievable. “The Lesson” by Toni Cede Bambina goes further than Alger.
Bambina analyzes the differences in classes. It is based upon the fact that class does indeed affect an individual’s identity. Bambina does this by depicting different classes and expanding on the slight differences. The story is more believable from the start by being in the first person narrative. Whereas “Ragged Dick” was fiction, “The Lesson” is from experience.This story is written through the eyes of Sylvia, a young low class girl. Sylvia and her “cousins” reside in a poor apartment complex.
They are first exposed to the differences in classes on a usual outing with Ms. Moore. Ms. Moore takes them to F. AH. Schwartz to see the prices. Sylvia is hit with reality when they come upon a sailboat which costs One thousand on hundred and ninety- five dollars.
“Unbelievable,” I hear myself say and am really stunned. I read it again for myself just in case the group recitation put me in a trance.Same thing. For some reason this pieces me off….
.. ‘Who’d pay all that when you can buy a sailboat set for a quarter at Pop’s, a tube of glue for a dime, and a ball of string for eighty cents? ‘ This passage is where Sylvia realizes the severity of differences in classes. Ms. Moore shows them they separation of classes and then builds upon the fact that anyone can become successful, all they have to do is have a true desire to want something. “Where we are is who we are, Ms. Moore always pointing out.
But it don’t necessarily have to be that way, she always adds then waits for somebody to say that poor people have to wake up an demand their share of the pie and don’t none of us know what kind of pie she talking about in the first place. ” Bambina conveys this Story in a much more coherent manner. She takes Lager’s note about speech pattern and expands on the difference in speech tatter of different classes. This story is much more believable because it is personalized through the first person narrative and because it talks about the difference in behavior and speech of different classes.Manumits’ takes a much different approach than the first two writers. Instead of writing a story based upon his experience or fiction, Manumits bases his article on statistics and other data. Due to this fact his article proves to be the strongest one yet.
Manumits discusses four Common beliefs about the United States: “Myth 1: The United States is fundamentally a classless society. Class distinctions are largely relevant today, and whatever differences do exist in economic standing are, for the most part, insignificant.Rich or poor, we are all equal in the eyes of the law, and such basic needs as health care and education are provided to all regardless of economic standing. Myth 2: We are, essentially, a middle-class nation. Despite some variations in economic status, most Americans have achieved relative affluence in what is widely recognized as a consumer society. Myth 3: We are all getting richer. The American public as a whole is steadily moving up the economic ladder, and each generation propels itself to rater economic well-being.
Myth 4: Everyone has a equal chance to succeed.Success in the United States requires no more than hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance. ” And then gives the reader facts to disprove them such as, “All Americans do not have equal opportunity to succeed. Inheritance laws assure a greater likelihood of success for the offspring of the wealthy. ” This tactic leads the reader to think in a way that the writer knows how to disprove and therefore increases the chances that the reader will find the replies valid. Manumits is the only own to really incorporate qualifications and connections onto the issue of identity; both of which really hurt Lager’s argument.