The US is currently engulfed in a political divide between the Liberals and the Conservatives. The perceived differences drive a wedge into our society. The article by Sarah Smarsh titled Country Pride: What I Learned Growing up in Rural America provides a tale of personal experiences that helped shape the woman’s views and l beliefs. Her article makes an empathetic and compelling case, but the presence of biases, a lack of an overarching narrative, and a lack of objective evidence reduce the value of the article in a public argument.
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The Country Versus the City
The main thesis of the article is that the divide between the city and the country lies in the lack of mutual understanding (Smarsh). The people in the countryside perceive the world through the prism of personal experiences. The way I interpret it, the country folk believe that if they are capable of dealing with a certain problem on their own, then everyone should. The city people are well versed in numbers and statistics. What they lack, I think, is practical knowledge at the ground level. They have no idea how people in the countryside live. This situation reminds me of large companies, where there is a disconnection between managers and workers.
“They Say” and, “I say” are frequently used throughout the article. In many cases, the “They Say” is implicit, like in various examples of city fashion that the author found humorous (Graff and Birkenstein 25). It implicitly states that city people wear a particular brand of clothes or drive certain cars (Smarsh). The majority of the writing is the author’s own thoughts and experiences. Sarah plants a few skeptics into her narrative (Graff and Birkenstein 78), such as one of her fellow editors, her roommate, and even her family to oppose some of the views she presented (Smarsh). This structure helps the reader emphasize with the writer.
The article offers very little in the way of objective evidence. It is an extract from Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, which is a memoir. Academic evidence is either nonexistent or cherry-picked to support the personal narrative (Graff and Birkenstein 156). The part of the They Say / I Says framework regarding academic tools is left largely untouched. The author does not confirm her biases, instead of placing them on a banner by stating where she comes from and what her upbringing was (Graff and Birkenstein 145).
I think the article was interesting reading, as it offered a fresh perspective on the nature of the identity conflict without putting too much blame on either side. The author’s thoughts and experiences, though lacking in factual evidence, are very empathetic. They could be used as evidence as part of a larger picture. The author implements the “I Say” and “They Say” tools while neglecting academy-specific suggestions as part of the memoir genre. This makes the article a compelling, if unreliable, source of information.
Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed., Norton, 2010.
Smarsh, Sarah. “Country Pride: What I Learned Growing Up in Rural America.” The Guardian. 2018. Web.
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