The Dispossessed: What Is A Working Class?

1365 words - 5 pages

What do you think of when you hear “working-class?” One perhaps might think of a
specific race, gender, sexuality or a specific type of lifestyle. In William Deresiewicz’s “The
Dispossessed” aims to raise awareness to his audience that people of the working class still exist
and should be recognized. His targeted audience being the educated, younger generations of
middle and upper class. Through the use of logic and building his credibility, Deresiewicz makes a convincing argument about the way the working class has been neglected and forgotten.

The intent of “The Dispossessed” is to convince the audience that the working class still
exists and it should still be recognized. Deresiewicz is targeting categories of class; specifically
the middle and upper class. The essay was first presented in the winter of 2006.
Just a little over a year after hurricane Katrina when the world was introduced to the working
class of New Orléans, Louisiana, that lost their homes were stranded for several days in the
Louisiana Superdome. During this time residents of New Orléans were struggling for the right to
to rebuild their homes. Now, five years later, the text does not have the same effect on readers
because since the time the essay was written American has already been through the effects of
hurricane Katrina and have since then moved on to the recession and loss of jobs. The recession
thrust thousands of people into the working class, so it is not like the working class is being
ignored, it has grown since the initial publishing of this essay.

The essay begins with Deresiewicz giving a statement. “Sometimes you don't realize that something’s been missing- it doesn't matter how big it is- until for a moment or two, it isn't.” The use of this statement helps the audience engage in the text right away; however, the statement is never addressed again, causing the reader to completely forget that it was even there in the first place. I think that this should have been brought up or at least mentioned it again somewhere in the essay because it would have reminded the reader about it or at the very least, they would have it in the back of their mind. Deresiewicz jumps right into the content with a personal experience involving of an interview with Bill T. Jones who is a dancer and choreographer who recently published his memoirs. “Jones is gay and black, and when the interviewer asked him what his father had thought about his becoming a dancer Jones, somewhat testily said something like, ‘You don’t understand. This wasn’t a middle-class family. The goal wasn’t to become a professional: the goal was to better yourself’” Deresiewicz describes his reaction to the interview by saying that it had nothing to do with race or sexuality and that it had everything to do with class, specifically the working class. This lead him to the realization that the working
class is something that you do not hear anyone talk about. By...

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