Those who are poor always seem to get the short end of the stick in every aspect. This is what one man, author Matthew O’Brien, argue “Poverty is Literally Making People Sick Because They Can’t Afford Food” published in 2014 in the Atlantic Magazine. He argues that individuals with low incomes are most likely to become sick because they run out of funds by the end of each month causing them to have to cut back on their food supply and basically starve. As, a result of this dilemma it is apparent that O’Brien truly believes that those who are poor should obtain more government assistance each month, by not only receiving payments at the beginning of the month but also at the end of the month. To support his argument for America’s desperate need to increase benefits for impoverished American’s O’Brien begins building credibility by employing emotional appeal to effectively utilize his argument, citing facts and statistics to persuade readers of the seriousness of poverty and how it affects our health.
The reader understands O’Brien rhetorical situation is driven by seriousness. The author creates his thesis by believing the federal government needs to give more benefits for poverty-stricken citizens, especially those citizens who are in jeopardy of hypoglycemia. Income inequality is making us sick (O’Brien). The choice of content forces the reader to ponder income inequality in the United States. Those Diabetic Americans who are forced to lower their food consumption tend to become hypoglycemic. In the article he states his counter argument that this can be caused by not eating healthy. O’Brien’s beliefs reveal his liberal stance about supporting the poor, and he portrays this as he attempts to evoke sympathy from his readers. The remark that “poverty begets poverty” reveals his liberal social-economic stance behind the rhetorical situation (O’Brien).
An author’s writing is also dependent upon the intended audience: who the author expects to read the text. Depending on the audience’s knowledge, concerns, and demographics, the writer incorporates and avoids certain components. O’Brien’s audience is likely a group of versed readers, as his article is posted in The Atlantic Magazine, which is generally comprised of sophisticated, often politically based writing. Some of his audience may share his liberal views and seek extended benefits for poor. Therefore, the reader could comprehend that the audience the author is aiming towards are working middle class along with politicians to raise awareness on this topic. O’Brien’s use of the first person “us” is deliberate – his reasonableness with the audience gains him credibility and helps verify that insufficient government aid leaves the poor in the dirt.
The authors tone is persuasive that in a way encourages the reader to support destitute American’s. In addition, O’Brien utilizes statistics to add more argument and build his credibility and make us trust him: “Maybe giving poorer people more cold, hard cash would let them afford more food at the end of the month – and save the $1,186 that an average hypoglycemia episode costs” (O’Brien). O’Brien resonates with a social – economical diverse group of people: poor Americans to whom $1,186 is an unimaginable figure as well as middle and upper class readers who in all likelihood have medical insurance. Both O’Brien’s statistics and poignant claims are crucial in understanding his rhetorical situation, which revolves around the tyranny of income inequality. The author gives us logos by explaining that it would be more cost effective to help those who are unfortunate with food to prevent expensive hospital costs. Further in the article he talks about appendicitis which is directly linked to eating unhealthy.
The cases of appendicitis do not change when you look at difference of incomes or time of the month. He uses pathos to show how people are suffering unnecessarily. So anything that stops some of this cycle of bad jobs, bad health, and broken homes could reduce spending on the rest (O’Brien). In which he goes to explain that by giving them more food and money in the month this would decrease not just diabetic emergencies in throughout the United States but this would also increase spending to uphold the economy The statement reveals how serious the author is; he wants those who have the ability make change to apprehend his solution and reform to help middle class citizens receive more benefits. O’Brien offers solutions such as increasing minimum wage and giving poor people more money. He is basically exercising pathos by saying if we give them more money for food they we will come out cheaper rather if we don’t they will get health issues from starvation by the end of the month and we still will have to pay their expensive hospital bills.
Conclusion— The article “Poverty Is Literally Making People Sick Because They Can’t Afford Food” by Matthew O’Brian covers a serious topic in only a few short pages. The problem addressed is that people are more likely to go to the hospital at the end of the month instead of the beginning of the month when there is no food, the counter argument is credible by showing appendicitis and that it does not change throughout the month, and then a solution is given at the end of the article on how to fix the epidemic. In which, he exercises pathos by saying if we give them more money for food they we will come out cheaper rather if we don’t they will have health issues from starvation by the end of the month and we still will have to pay their expensive hospital bills. Moreover, O’Brien’s persuasiveness is what motivates his rhetorical situation, which can be discerned as seriousness under the fatal conditions poor Americans face. The author appeals to logic by presenting his research in an organized fashion.
He shows ethos by citing credible sources and giving ways to fix a morally wrong pattern that we face in our society today, and he uses pathos to show how people are suffering and really don’t have to. If both political parties were to come to agreement and give the poor more spending money all around. It would in fact, create more money circulating in the lower class which would increase spending all around not just for food. “The basic idea is that people struggling to make it paycheck-to-paycheck (or benefits-to-benefits) might run out of money at the end of the month and has to cut back on food”. Many people will look at O’Brien’s article and not understand the situation if they have never experienced it. Growing up in a home very similar to the one discussed in the article I understand living pay check to paycheck is no way to live. It was not just a strain on my parents and their health; I suffered as well. To where somedays I would choose work over school to help my parents make ends meet for food and other necessities.
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