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Gary Soto's Looking for Work and the Issue of Human Trafficking - A Story of Social Injustice

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The argument Gary Soto was exemplifying throughout his narrative, “Looking for Work”, was one of social injustice while longing for social and racial equality. The cultural purpose of this literary piece is profound yet often over looked. Through this personal experience, Soto has been able to illustrate the struggle that a countless number of children in ethnic minorities face: overwhelming social stigma based on racial ethnicity. This theme is similar to that of Sherman Alexie’s novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and the vessel of execution both authors utilize is incredibly affective. Due to the constant social grooming enforced by consistent exposure to social media, the main character idolizes the life he associates with white, middle class living. Soto exemplifies this fact when he writes, “This was the summer when I spent the mornings in front of the television that showed the comfortable lives of white kids. There were no beatings, no rifts in the family.” The title, “Looking for Work”, makes a profound statement itself. Given the current stigma associated with Mexican-Americans in the modern economy, hard working yet cheap labor, the theme of inequality resounds throughout the entire story. When this is juxtaposed with the image of the stereotyped higher-class white man, who works little for exponentially more money, the cultural purpose to expose excessive racial discrimination in America’s economy is evident.

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The act depicted in the visual is a small girl mistaking a window for a touch screen. The argument conveyed in this image is the disconnect between face-to-face reality and technology in modern society. This visual image embodies the current cultural phenomenon of anonymous communication. All personal contact is becoming outdated means of communication, and the fact that the small girl has her back to her parents illustrates this fact. Instead of interacting face to face with her parents, she is preoccupied with the idea that the window is actually a piece of technology. This is relevant to current culture because it is happening everyday. We should care because the consequence of this current trend results in the complete absence of human interaction. People will no longer communicate without a thin, L.E.D screen between us.

My favorite presentation of all the presentations was the one on human trafficking, by Kayley Steadman. Human trafficking is a global issue that affects countless victims, and the presenter made a great appeal to how diverse the issue is. It does not affect just women as most would believe, but apparently both male and female are tricked or forced into different trades of hard labor other than prostitution. This issue is reflected in our current time and place because it is an industry that is only growing without much impediment. This particular presentation appealed to me because it is a huge issue in the area that I am from. In Europe, due to the amount of immigration from impoverished adjoining nations, human trafficking is rampant. The desperate state of the poverty stricken population makes the immigrants an easy target for the hustlers in the human trafficking trade.

The media strategies I observed vary from visual images, video footage, and text media. Each of these methods has its limitations and benefits. I noticed many of my colleagues based their strategy on the balance or compensation of each media type’s benefits and limitations. The presenter would show a profound image to bring a sense of reality to the viewer, but would then speak to elaborate upon the context or background of the image and how it correlates to the issue at hand. This allows the presenter to make a profound impact on the audience on multi planes. A well-rounded argument is the most effective argument.

Argument varies greatly from that of research reports and purely fact-based writing. Argument involves other aspects of writing that involves the complex network of the human mind. Ethos, Pathos, and logos are all appeals that address the human complex. The work we do in ENC1102 teaches us to not rely strictly on what has been written before us, but to develop our own methods of construction in the world of writing. Argument is also far more applicable beyond the classroom. Argument will be necessary in our professional life as well as our personal life. To be effective in all areas of communication, we must all be confident in the craft of argument.

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