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.