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"Is a Hard Inherited?" by Nicholas Kristof

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 4 (835 words)
Downloads: 19
Views: 436

Many working-class Americans struggle daily just to make ends meet. Whether they are attempting to break the continuous cycle they are trapped in or trying to create a healthier lifestyle for themselves. Nicholas Kristof, author of ‘Is a Hard Inherited?’ illustrates this point of the working-class who struggles to be financial stable and break the broken lifestyle they live in. In fact, Nicholas Kristof was able to escape what seemed to be the inevitable cycle of poverty. In contrast, his childhood friend he features in the article, Rick Groff, was less fortunate as he lived his life in poverty.

Nicholas Kristof uses the life of his friend Rick Goff as an example and lesson to describe how prosperous Americans should acknowledge the daily struggles of the working-class while, informing these Americans how to exercise more empathy and opportunity to escape the unbroken cycle.

Both Kristof and Goff grew up in Yamhill, Oregon. Unlike Goff, Kristof had emotional and physical support from both his parents.

After moving away from Yamhill, Oregon, Kristof was able to obtain a degree in government from Harvard College. He then furthered his education at Magdalen College by receiving a law degree. Once completing his education, Kristof joined The New York Times and became a successful author receiving many awards and prizes. In ‘Is a Hard Life Inherited?’, Kristof tells the emotional story of his friend, and how he remained in the unforgiving cycle of poverty.

The beginning of unfortunate events for Goff began at the age of 5, ‘his mom choked on a piece of bacon, staggered out to the yard and dropped dead’ (Kristof). Following this further, Goff explains, ‘My dad just started walking down the driveway and kept walking’ (Kristof). Goff and his 3 other siblings quickly turned into orphaned children who were then raised by a grandmother. Instead of worrying about what toy to play with next, ‘The children held jobs, churned the family cow’s milk into butter, and survived on what they could hunt and fish’ (Kristof). Nevertheless, Kristof illustrates how many working-class citizens are trapped in a cycle of poverty and struggle to complete daily routines while trying to stay financially stable. With the passing of Goff’s mom and absence of his dad, Goff was forced to a lifestyle that came with many hardships. Although this is a lifestyle many live in, there are still some that are ignorant to the difficulties the working-class face. Kristof emphasizes the situation of Goff’s family in order to bring awareness to the upper middle class.

At this point, Kristof explains how Goff was an inconvenient to many individuals especially at school, Goff explained ‘They said I was an overactive child’ (Kristof). The school system failed young Goff by giving off a silent message, by ‘suspending him from school for six months’ (Kristof). Instead of understanding his personal situation he was shoved off to the side hoping he wouldn’t return. By, ‘the 10th grade, Rick dropped out of school’ (Kristof) and worked at various places just to stay above water financially. Goff also states that, ‘his girlfriend skipped town and left him with a 2-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son to raise on his own’ (Kristof). At this age no teenager has the maturity and dedication to take care of children. Having to raise 2 children as an adolescent, within this stressful situation Goff turned to alcohol, drugs. Kristof stated that Goff was ‘arrested about 30 times but never convicted of a felony’ (Kristof). Kristof’s purpose of telling Goff’s story is to reveal the emotional cycle many disadvantaged individuals experience. The only way to break the cycle is to provide empathy along with more opportunities to those struggling specifically the working-class Americans.

By the time Goff could straighten his life out, he relies on government support as he accepts any jobs he can find. Most will portray Goff as a reckless parent who only cares about themselves through the decisions Goff has made. Kristof clarifies that Goff ‘accepts responsibility for plenty of mistakes’ (Kristof). Although Goff is not proud, he failed to stop the cycle when he exposed his children to this way of living. Kristof states, ‘One of Rick’s biggest regrets is that his son is in prison on drug-related offenses, while his daughter is in a halfway house recovery from heroin addiction’ (Kristof). Goff wants individuals to understand that the cycle of poverty is a difficult one to escape. Kristof wants the audience to see that Goff didn’t want his children to be sucked into this toxic lifecycle and make the same decisions Goff made at their age.

Therefore, Kristof wants the more fortunate Americans to acknowledge the poverty lifestyle that is amongst many working-class individuals. If the upper and middle class, empathize towards the working-class and understand the situation they are going through, this could allow for more opportunities for those individuals to make beneficial changes in their lifestyle. The heartbreaking story of Rick Goff challenges others to consider becoming aware of those who are less fortunate.

Cite this page

“Is a Hard Inherited?” by Nicholas Kristof. (2019, Nov 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/is-a-hard-inherited-by-nicholas-kristof-essay

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