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Theme of Class in Daniel James Brown Novel The Boys in the Boat

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A very important theme in “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown is class, and especially the contention between various financial classes. The book happens during the Great Depression, a time when the breakdown of the stock market and the decrease of industry took steps to crash the middle class. Numerous families that had never had to worry about food were pushed into destitution.

At a school, like the University of Washington, where the book mostly takes place, the gap between the wealthiest and the most unfortunate Americans was especially divided. A portion of the college’s Students had never worked a day in their lives, while others, like Joe Rantz, must work the whole summer and sometimes during the school year to afford the schools tuition. Through the character of Joe Rantz, Daniel James Brown investigates the harassment and separation that average American workers regularly need to suffer, and how a few Americans escaped from these circumstances to build a better life for themselves and their families. Following I will explain it with more detail using Joe as an example.

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At the University of Washington, Joe experienced a lot of class segregation. He was born into a poor working-class family and because of family issues and his new stepmom, he gets left behind by his dad. Since the age of fifteen, Joe needs to regularly work all day just to provide food for himself and not having to sleep outside in the rain.

Then again, a portion of his colleagues was born in rich, well off families, and had no experience working for there food or clothes all day. They made fun of Joe for his sloppy dress, his bad habits, and different other things like eating their food because “he wasn’t about to walk away from perfectly good food because of a bunch of jackasses in jerseys” (Brown 92), that implied his middle-class roots. In those Situations, he feels “a toxic dash of jealousy” (145) because the kids in upper-class families don’t have to worry about things that he and other students with less or no money have to worry about every day.

Joe was especially aware of the division between upper-class and working-class as a rower for the college’s rowing team. Generally, rowing is one of the most elitist sports, accessible just for the students who are able to purchase shells or pay to row at world-class athletic clubs. That is why he drew the attention of the wealthier students to himself when he entered the club, wearing the same dirty sweatshirt over and over.

Through the span of the book, nonetheless, Joe and the other working-class rowers battled back against class separation in a couple of various ways. In the first place, Joe came to comprehend that he wasn’t the only one with working-class origins; to be sure, the vast majority of the other gifted fellow rowers hailed from poor families and needed to work a lot for their tuition food and clothes as well. Joe created solid companionships with his partners because of their abilities and their common roots which connected them.

In doing so, Joe and his colleagues tested the old generalization that rowing was a “rich man sport.’ Most fundamentally of all, Joe and his companions battled against classism just by being superior to any other persons or Rowing team. As Joe continues attending the school, winning great rowing titles, his wealthier colleagues made fun of him less and less. Quite the opposite, he was respected not only citywide on account of his abilities. But it is also sad that for example, people from the working class who are less privileged have to do more and better than the average just to be considered equal to people from higher classes or with better roots.

Overall the book says that Joe turned into an extraordinary rower as a result of his working-class roots. Joe and his poor rowing friends became a symbol of hope for a lot of other working-class Americans. Also his status gets better and better through out the book; starting as a poor child who was all by himself, he made his way up to respected man with a secured income and surrounded by family. The Boys in the Boat tells a hopeful, motivating story about class in America. Regardless of the fact that not many Americans are as skilled as Joe and his rowing colleagues, they can utilize their aspiration, ability, and will power to discover achievement, challenging the upper-class tyrants who tell them they’ll never get anywhere or achieve anything in their life.


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