Personal Experience or History of Vance’s Past

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If you were to choose a part from human history, there is a guarantee that there is something memorable from that time period. For example, most people know that there were two memorable American astronauts from Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. But if someone were to ask, who was the third astronaut on the Apollo 11 mission, would you be able to answer? There is always something that most people tend to forget, the answer to the question, Michael Collins was the third astronaut on the Apollo 11 mission. He was manning the command module making sure everything went well while the other two made history. The same problem of forgetting something unimportant is still present today.

The majority of people living in the United States are in the working class, but they probably have no clue that they are becoming America's forgotten class. A TED talk given by J.D. Vance goes into detail on why this issue is starting to become a serious problem in the United States. The working class here in the United States is facing challenges that can threaten its existence. They are left to fend off the opioid epidemic, their family problems, and a failing economy. Throughout his talk, Vance provides an effective argument in regards to why the working class here in the United States is being forgotten. In order to prove his argument, Vance is able to apply the usage of the story of you, us, and now into his talk. Therefore he is adequate to communicate and demonstrate that members of the working class in the United States are being forgotten to time.

Vance begins his talk on this issue with him establishing his credibility, he tells his audience he is someone from the working class, “ I didn't come from the elites. I didn't come from the Northeast or from San Francisco. I came from a southern Ohio steel town, and it's a town that's really struggling in a lot of ways”(Vance 00:44) Most people who come from the working class often have poor backgrounds, they usually struggle with their daily lives and sometimes even the government fails to notice them. This group often faces more challenges compared to the top class, they usually struggle with problems that involve money, education, crime, or drugs. By establishing himself as a member of the working class, Vance is able to provide first hand information to his audience regarding the problems the working class faces which helps him prove the argument. As someone who has knowledge about this issue and is actually from the working class here in the United States, Vance is the best candidate to present his argument.

Stories can come in various forms: they can be long or short, complex or simple, written or spoken; a grandparent retelling his war stories, a little boy’s bedtime story, or a local legend. All of these types of stories may have distinct functions and how they are shared, however for this issue Vance applies the story of you into his TED Talk. The story of you is defined as someone’s personal experience or experiences or their background and the outcome is that the story of you attempts to convince others to care about a particular issue. Vance needs his audience to be convinced on the issue regarding the disappearing working class and into believing his argument. He gives a personal experience with the hardships he endured while growing up, “I had a very front-row seat to that struggle.

My family has been part of that struggle for a very long time. I come from a family that doesn't have a whole lot of money. The addiction that plagued my community also plagued my family, and even, sadly, my own mom.”(Vance 1:40) This personal story has an important impact with his audience, the people watching come from different social and economic backgrounds compared to Vance. Ironically, the audience is composed of educated, upper class and come from very privileged backgrounds. No matter the type of story, it can give people some knowledge they did not have and in this particular issue, Vance gives his personal story about his life.

Personal stories can show the true colors of someone true self. Most of the time uniting an entire community can be a difficult task to achieve. People in a community may share different views, be apart of different cultures, come from different social or economic backgrounds. However if someone were to unite this group by giving a shared vision for the community, have a common ground or identity, or a shared human experience. Attempting to get his audience to believe in his argument, Vance tells another personal story about his time as a law student, “I remember the very first time I went to a nice restaurant, a really nice restaurant.

I remember beforehand the waitress walked around and asked whether we wanted some wine, so I said, 'Sure, I'll take some white wine.'(Vance 0:10) With Vance coming from the working class, there are no resources for the consumption of white wine. The working class have more problems in their life than to be choosing what type of white wine they want. For this type of situation, most people in the working class lack social capital. They don’t venture out and make connections with others, they normally know everyone in their city or town. This is the case for most people but, Vance was very fortunate in his life: he joined the marines, went to college, attended law school at Yale, and wrote a best-selling book. Vance wants his audience to see that kid from southern Ohio, a place that is struggling, can exceed all expectations and prove everyone wrong.

Should people worry here in the United States be more involved in the issue of the disappearing working class? Vance says yes, he calls for more educational opportunities for the working class, better jobs within their towns, and a solution to the Opioid epidemic. Sharing the history of you and us, Vance wants his audience to see that there is a problem. The story of now, answers any doubt that anyone including the audience may have. It is a call for action, this problem with the working class needs to be solved. Most residents living in a working class town, highschool is either the highest level of education they can achieve or it’s goal that can never be reached.

Coal mines and steel mills were once the only source of employment and income within a working class town. Over the years they have been shutting down due to environmental dangers it poses to the Earth, going bankrupt, or moving production overseas. The Opioid epidemic accelerated all of these problems to grow more serious. This crisis has affected the whole country but the places where it has hit the hardest were in parts of the country that are usually paid no attention, low income parts of the country, and in Vance’s experience in a working class. A solution would be for the government to intervene and provide support to these affected regions. These problems must be solved as soon as possible or the working class will be in a much harder struggle and difficult to come out.

Most of the time people forget the unimportant things and only remember the very important. Here in the United States everyone knows who the president is but they probably have little knowledge who the president’s cabinet consists of. The people in the United States seem to have forgotten who the working class is, however Vance’s argues that this is starting to become an issue. To further back his argument, Vance applies the usage of the story of you, us, and now in his Ted Talk. He gives a personal story about growing up, his lack of social capital, and urges the audience to act now. Vance does not have all the solutions to solve this issue but he ends his talk with this statement. “know that unless our society starts asking better questions about why I was so lucky and about how to get that luck to more of our communities and our country's children, we're going to continue to have a very significant problem.”

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Personal Experience or History of Vance’s Past. (2022, May 27). Retrieved June 23, 2024 , from

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