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11 September 2018
The Power of Storytelling
In America today, the working class makes up 35% of the population. In the Ted talk “America’s Forgotten Working Class” by J.D. Vance, he raises the question of how we can help kids from America’s working class realize the American dream and live better lives. In his Ted talk J.D. Vance effectively uses the story of you, the story of us, and the story of now to raise the question of how we can help kids from America’s working class live better lives. By talking about his life as a kid and how he overcame the struggles of his community.
In his Ted talk, Vance uses the story of you to tell the story of how he made it out of the American working class, and how his story can raise the question of how we can help the kids of the American working class. Vance’s story of you began in a working-class southern Ohio steel town where he says, “I come from a family that doesn’t have a whole lot of money. The addiction that plagued my community also plagued my family, and even, sadly, my own mom”(Vance). Vance as a kid did not have a lot of money he grew up in community were a lot of the people were addicted to heroin, and his home life wasn’t any better his mother was on heroin and so were other members of his family. This shows that his story helps raise the question of how we can help kids from the working class have better home lives and how we can help build a better community around them. Vance also talks about his grandparents and how they helped him become who he is today, He says, “they really shaped up by the time I came around. They provided me a stable home, a stable family. They made sure that when my parents weren’t able to do the things that kids need, they stepped in and filled that role”(Vance). This shows that Vances story of you can help kids of America’s working class because it shows that Vance had people in his life like his grandparents showing him what to do and helping him become a better person by giving him a stable home when his own parents could not and being his role models. His grandparents also helped him because they filled the role of his parents when his parents couldn’t. Another way Vance uses the story of you to raise the question of how we can help the kids the working class live better lives is when he is talking about his time in the military. When Vance is talking about his time in the military he says, “the US Marine Corps was a four-year crash course in character education. It taught me how to make a bed, how to do laundry, how to wake up early, how to manage my finances. These are things my community didn’t teach me”(Vance). This shows that Vance’s story of you effectively raise the question of how we can help kids from America’s working-class live better lives, because it shows that he came from a working-class community and the military gave him order really taught him a lot of the things that his community didn’t that he need to become more successful in life. This helps raise the question of how we can help working-class kids, because its shows that working-class communities are lacking to teach basic things to the kids that come from there communities.
Vance also uses the story of us to talk about working class communities to raise the question of how we can help kids of the American working class live better lives. The story of us is defined in the article “how to get power” by Eric Liu when he states, “That work then flows into the story of us: the collective narratives of challenge, choice and purpose that emerge from any community”(Liu). Vance uses the story of us when he talks about how his community growing up. he says, “Heroin has moved in, killing a lot of people, people I know. Family violence, domestic violence, and divorce have torn apart families”(Vance). This shows that drugs and violence played a big role in his community. This also shows the problem that was facing Vance community because it showed at a young age that he was exposed to all these bad things. Drugs and violence affect a lot of working-class communities, and a lot of kids are exposed to the same things Vance was exposed to in these working-class communities.that raises the question of how can we make working-class communities better for kids so they can live better lives in the future. Vance also uses the story of us when he talks about how there is a feeling of hopelessness in these working class communities, he says, “There was a sense that kids had that their choices didn’t matter. No matter what happened, no matter how hard they worked, no matter how hard they tried to get ahead, nothing good would happen”(Vance). This shows that the kids in these low-income communities felt that whatever they did nothing would change that there would be no change in their future, so many of the kids in these working-class communities would give up on school and education because they believed that it was not for them. Vance effectively uses the story of us to raise the question of how we can help kids in these working class communities live better lives by showing that the kids in these communities have no hope for the future and no matter how hard they tried there would be no change for them. Another way that Vance uses the story of us is when he is talking about working-class communities, he says, “The American Dream in those parts of the country is in a very real sense just a dream”(Vance). This shows how little hope that America’s working-class communities have because they believe that the American dream is just a dream for them and they cannot attain it. Vance effectively uses the story of us to show that these communities are hopeless, and that raises the question of how can we help working-class kids lives better and have hope for their futures.
Finally, Vance uses the story of now to raise the question of how we can help working-class kids live better lives. In the article “The Struggles of America’s forgotten working class” by Milan, for CCT NEWS they state, “Vance states that unless society starts looking into how to raise the upward mobility rates in these communities, there will continue to be a significant problem leading to the failure of children to improve their own quality of living”(Milan). This shows how Vance uses the story of now because it’s saying that unless we figure out a way to raise the upward mobility rates in working-class communities now more and more kids in the working class will fail to live better lives in the future. Another way Vance uses the story of now to raise the question of how can we help kids of working-class communities is when. Vance states, “We need to ask questions about how we give social capital, mentorship to low-income kids who don’t have it”(Vance). This shows that Vance effectively uses the story of now to raise the question of how we can help kids from working-class communities live better lives, because he says what should be done to fix the problem that working-class kids face every day in their communities. Vance also asks the questions that we need to answer in order to fix the problem that faces these kids.
In conclusion, J.D. Vance effectively uses the story of you, the story of us, and the story of now to raise the question of how we can help kids from America’s working class live better lives. By talking about his life as a kid and how he overcame the struggles of his community.

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