Essay about The Dispossessed: What Is a Working Class?

Essay about The Dispossessed: What Is a Working Class?

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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 ...

... middle of paper ...

...In “The Dispossessed,” William Deresiewicz brings several techniques together in his
successful attempt at persuading his intended audience. His approach was blunt and straight
forward that provided examples that would capture the interest of the readers. What Deresiewicz
was trying to accomplish in this essay was not just the fact that the working class is not noticed
but also that the members of this class have different values than that of the upper class and are
not defined by the middle class. These people are not lost in the void between the poor and
middle class, but they are in a category all its own. William Deresiewicz is not hesitant in calling
out society on its blindness to pay recognition to people associated with classes outside their

Works Cited

Deresiewicz, William. “The Dispossessed.” Writing Public Lives: 174-181. Print.

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