Sanders' Characterization Of Laborers Essay

716 words - 3 pages

Sanders expresses his desire to become an influential, educated man by characterizing the broken-down laborers he knew as a child solely as tools for labor, and through word choice that paints these men as worn out and beaten down. In contrast, he emphasizes the fact that educated, rich men are in control of their surroundings, and generalizes all of these men as having not a care in the world.
Sanders describes the physical laborer's position in life as one without any control - he is used only to toil and suffer for the men above him. Sanders furthers this depressing view of the laborer's life by constantly referring to their dilapidated physical conditions with words such as "maimed"(Sanders 545) and "split"(545). Sanders' word choice when describing these men is highly indicative of his feelings towards them and their work, and his fear of becoming like them. He describes their skin as "like the leather of old work gloves"(545), a description that not only provides a vivid physical image, but a deeper reflection of the laborer's place in society. By paralleling the laborer to a work glove, Sanders subtlety places them on the same plane as an inanimate tool. To those above them, and to Sanders, the brute laborers are just that - useful and necessary, but in no way possessing any control over their lives. The laborers are used and used as much as they are needed to, and this is reflected in Sander's descriptions of their physical states: "the bodies of the men I knew were twisted and maimed in ways visible and invisible...there were times, studying them, when I dreaded growing up"(545). Sanders' childhood amongst the laborers gave him an uncomfortable familiarity with the life of a laborer and the way he is viewed, and his word choice and characterization of this group reflects just how little he wants to follow in his father's footsteps.
The rich, educated fathers of his classmates in University, however, seem to be a world unto their own. The fact that they are so unfamiliar to Sanders leads him to characterizing all of them,...

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