Rich vs. Poor: Does Wealth really Matter?

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In today’s society and in the past years, socioeconomic status has been and continues to be a regarding topic. When analyzing an individual, one must consider the subjects’ education, income, and occupation to develop a reliable conclusion of their standard of life. I believe that socioeconomic factors play a huge role in a person’s life and I will demonstrate this through the comparison of different individuals. According to the American Psychological Association, socioeconomic status is the “social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income and occupation”. Socioeconomic status has a substantial effect on the lifestyle of an individual. Education, income, and occupation are all factors of socioeconomic status and are aspects of everyone’s life whether we excel in these areas or not. Those who excel in these categories tend to live well off while on the other hand those who fall behind tend to live very poor or mediocre lives. I believe that socioeconomic status is a relevant and growing topic of interest in today’s society as it continues to affect various important aspects of life. Studies have been done to test the effects of socioeconomic status on learning abilities, health, family relationships and even obesity but there are no recognized studies currently on its effect on one’s lifestyle in general. This is undoubtedly a topic that needs to be further researched in hopes of one day better understanding the issue.
There is a significant difference in the lifestyles of those with opposite socioeconomic statuses. This semester we have read two works that demonstrate this difference, The Rise of Silas Lapham and The Friends of Eddie Coyle. While these two stories have different themes, they both reflect the life of two men and their families, one being wealthy and the other being underprivileged. William Dean Howells, author of The Rise of Silas Lapham, presents Silas Lapham as a wealthy; father, husband, and natural-born business man who has been afforded the opportunity to start a thriving business in the city of Boston. While in contrast, George V. Higgins author of The Friends of Eddie Coyle, presents Eddie Coyle, as a forty-five year old father, husband, and ex-convict also living in Boston working as a gunrunner. What were the authors’ intentions when developing the main characters of each of these novels? Do the authors develop these characters based on the stereotypical outlook of those in different socioeconomic statuses? I believe this is the case...

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