Back in the earlier parts of life, my only goal was to get the new P!nk CD. I was obsessed with her and all of her songs. Each song on the album (I don’t remember the exact one, I think ‘Funhouse’) was perfect; the beat, lyrics, etc. Anything Pink did, I loved, she was the first artist I really was willing to buy merchandise from. So I finally purchased the CD when I was younger, which I then proceeded to listen to over and over on my little CD player. I had other albums at the time, but because I had bought this with my own money, it was a bigger deal. My parents didn’t really mind that I had bought this CD, P!nk doesn’t really have anything overly graphic in her work. Plus my mom is a fan too, that’s how I first began to like P!nk. To this day, I still really enjoy listening to any of P!nks songs, whether old or newer. That CD along with all my other childhood CD’s still lives in my closet, though I really don’t listen to them very often, sometimes I still listen to that particular album when I’m feeling nostalgic. That album, and all the others from my childhood will always be happy memories, and honestly, I will probably have each CD for a long time to come.
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Recently I watched a video on YouTube detailing the wealth distribution among people in America. When most think of all the money in America, according to the video $54 trillion, they hope for an equal distribution. Even then, only a truly optimistic person would believe in a slightly equal distribution. Generally, we are aware of how skewed it really is, or so we believe. People like to think the difference between the top 20% and the bottom 20% is a steady curve if the information were graphed, like in the video. However, in reality the difference is astounding, the top 1% makes about 40% of all the wealth in the country, while the bottom 80 or so, only make 7%. Seven percent. That’s crazy, when you think of the over 300 million people living in America and 80% of them together make only .07 of $54 trillion. The video does a good job of illustrating those staggering stats by using graphs and charts to easily show the massive differences. It employs all the major persuasive techniques, pathos, logos, and ethos, to help build their information presented. The graphs and charts take care of the logos, while the ethos and pathos is used when narrator describes the financial situation this country is in. Anyone upon hearing those stats would be stirred with emotions, sadness, anger, unfairness. The stats are harsh and unjust, but are still completely true.
The video was produced recently, but the general message has always been relevant. Whichever point in history you choose to look at, the top 10% always have so much more than the middle and bottom combined. When looking through literature, since the author usually takes ideas from his/her surroundings it’s no surprise that some characters are extremely well off, while others have to scrap buy. A perfect example is the Great Gatsby, written by Fitzgerald during the roaring 20’s. The novels characters are a part of the glittering wealth and lavish lifestyle of that era. The main characters are aristocrats that hide behind their wealth, at least the Buchanan’s do, and don’t pay much attention to the poor surrounding them. (And as a reader, I really didn’t think of the lower classes much either) Then on a totally opposite side, the Grapes of Wrath, written by Steinbeck, depict a poor, homeless family during the depression that have to struggle to survive. That novel also, never really depicts the other side, wealthy, although during the Great Depression, I’m not sure how many truly wealthy people were left. Both novels center on the idea of wealth and what it means in each era. If it wasn’t for the wealth difference, there would have been no Great Gatsby, as it focuses on a man that did anything to acquire wealth to impress someone, and there would have been no Grapes of Wrath, as it centers on family not having enough money. Maybe if wealth had been more evenly distributed neither novel would have had a premise, and today more people would be living comfortably, but sadly it’s not and probably never will be.
In the 1920’s the world of literature and poetry produced many great works ranging from the Great Gatsby to T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men”. The poem itself packs a dense message and contains lots of imagery that further explain Eliot’s viewpoint on his society. He writes about the deteriorating moral fabric of the people of that time because of the dwindling importance of religion and traditional values. In Eliot’s eyes, people had left themselves without a solid foundation to live on and by; effectively becoming ‘hollow men’. In the poem, the reference to eyes it repeated. In the beginning, he speaks of eyes representing something to be wary of, saying “Those who have crossed/ With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom” remember the hollowness of men. He continues to say the “Eyes I dare not meet in dreams/ In death’s dream kingdom”. However by the end of poem, the eyes turn into something hopeful. Eliot describes as “The eyes reappear/ As the perpetual star” and they bring “The hope only/ Of empty men”. The eyes described in the beginning could be a connection to life at that time being immoral then peoples after-death transcendence could be the hope he wrote about.
The other famous work from that era is The Great Gatsby written by Fitzgerald. In it he portrays his characters as shallow, selfish, and money orientated. They were as Eliot describes “hollow”. Both authors seemed ashamed of the society surrounding them, the immoral code everyone lived by. While in Eliot’s piece, he is transparent about his attitude towards the people around him, Fitzgerald’s novel has a more underlying tone of disgust. In Gatsby, the characters all seem to be living luxurious lives with no cares, which may seem like a good thing; but it’s not. They are “hollow” people that only care for themselves and then hide behind their money. Both authors portrayed a shallow society; Eliot did it by directly writing about the hollowness of men, Fitzgerald by the ridiculous lives of his characters. Either way, both authors did not seem very fond of that era and what it brought out in people.