At the Edge of Poverty: Deconstruction Essay

In the piece “At the edge of Poverty” David Shipler tells about the world of “the forgotten Americans”. The people who can’t save, can’t get a better job, and cannot move on to a better life. He shows us how hard it is to be someone like that, to be on the edge of poverty. He brings us to a different level of understanding of what these people go though and how they are almost are stuck in society, only to dream for a better future. In this well written piece, Shipler does a wonderful job of grabbing and keeping the attention of the reader with many techniques.

He uses metaphors, pathos, dramatically short sentences, imagery and many more techniques. Shipler does, though, have two of his best techniques that he uses to really make this piece amazing; repetitiveness and word choice are techniques he utilizes to create credibility and emotion with the reader and to make a very interesting and wonderful piece. Shipler uses repetition as a bright way to emotionally pull the reader in. The author is very good at using repetition as a manipulating device to his reader into becoming fond the piece.

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Shipler duplicates words throughout his writing to add emphasis on a certain subject. “The poor have less control over their private decisions, less insulation from the cold machinery of government, less agility to navigate around the pitfalls of a frantic world driven by technology and competition. ” By emphasizing on the word “less” Shipler persuades the reader into thinking that the subject has so little compared to the wealthy Americans. He shows the reader how different these people are from others in several aspects of life.

Shipler also uses repetition as an advantage in another part of his piece; “They still cannot save, cannot get decent health care cannot move to better neighborhoods, and cannot send their children to school” Again the author emphasis how much these people don’t have as many opportunities as others. The reader sees the words repeatedly in their head and it makes more of an impression then it would of if the word was just written once. The word is then caught in the readers mind and eventually can help develop emotion for the poverty struck citizens in the text. When emotion develops, so does a strive to read more.

Shipler does a wonderful job of using repetition as an advantage to pull the reader in, develop emotion, and make the reader crave to read more. Another way that Shipler enhances to pull the reader in is through his word choice. His crafty word choice creates credibility for himself and allows the reader to be convinced into reading more. One illustration of Shipler’s incredible word choice is when he writes “we reveal in the nobility of tireless labor and scrupulous thrift that can transform a destitute refugee into a successful entrepreneur. ” By reading this clever sentence, the reader can assume that Shipler has an excellent vocabulary.

Excellent vocabulary means excellent knowledge, excellent knowledge means good credibility. Readers are captivated by Shipler’s well formulated words and phrases, and the reader starts to become influenced by the piece, wanting to read more of this intelligent writers work. In paragraph nine Shipler takes his wording to a new level. He uses words like “moral virtue”, “righteousness”, “the fair and final judge”, and “whiff of sinfulness”. He selects words like these to allude to theme of God. Reading throughout the paragraph, you start to realize Shipler is almost mocking the religious and their views on what they think is morally unethical.

With Shiplers wording you can catch the theme of the paragraph. If Shipler were to use other words instead of the ones listed above, it would have been less hilarity, less allusion, and less of a credible piece to the reader. Throughout the piece Shipler uses very well crafted word choice to intrigue and gain the admiration of the reader. Though Shipler does use very good word choice throughout his piece, he also some expressions in his writing to lower the standard a bit. Shipler liked to use numerous cliches. While reading, I was chomping at the bit every time I saw a cliche.

It’s not rocket science to think outside the box, it’s easy as pie. Cliche’s can make your blood boil, can get under your skin, and can rub some the wrong way. “All in all”, “. . . dreamed of a better life”, “that’s not to suggest”, “might as well”, and “rags to riches” are some to name the least that were mentioned in Shiplers writing. When a reader looks at a cliche it can really diminish the status quo of the writer. Needless to say it can make the writer sound like he is dumb as a doornail. It would be only a matter of time until Shipler lost his reader for good.

Before I knew it I was noticing all of his cliches and not noticing the actual story he was trying to tell, I became bored out of my mind in a matter of time and I had to get back on track. It can become a waste of time to read so many cliches left and right in just one piece of writing. So let’s cut to the chase and agree that using cliches can drive you up the wall when used without a care in the world. Nobody should be caught dead writing cliches and should immediately be nipped in the bud. In the piece “At the Edge of Poverty” David Shipler shows a different side to the poverty line.

His repetition and creative language grabs attention of the reader. He makes the reader want to read more with his crafted words and language about the people who seem to always stay on the poverty line. He did a well crafted piece. Though he does use cliches, he re-gains his credibility with the intelligence he shows though his writing. Though that credibility, he gains emotion. Emotion that makes the reader feel sorry for the people who are low on money, emotion that pulls the reader in to read more, emotion that brings the reader to realize what he was trying to get them to see; a different side to the poverty stricken people.


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