In her passage “LiveFree and Starve,” Chitra Divakaruni explains why The United States House ofCongress should not have passed the bill, which restrains the importation ofproducts from manufactories where child labor is used. As a result, shementions this bill will adversely impact the lives and sustenance of childrenand their families in Developing Nations. Divakaruni uses different logicalappeals by giving a personal anecdote, which enables the reader to relate to anemotional experience of how this bill will adversely affect these children.
Divakaruni introduces her argument by seeming to agreewith the bill. She writes, “My liberal friends applauded the bill,” (428)stating that the bill was a celebratory advance in the area of human rights.She describes the deplorable conditions these children live in and the horrorof forced labor. A distinctive utilization of nationalistic expression in herintroduction invites the reader to connect with her point of view. She createscommon grounds with her audience regarding liberty, human rights, and freedom.These affable overtones in the first paragraph, however, are displaced by thesarcastic tone of her last sentence, when she mentions these children inDeveloping Nations could be “free and happy, like American children,” which predictsher later contrast of children in America versus children in Developing Nationswho benefit from different economic structures. However,she indicates her disagreement with the proposed bill.Byusing a personal anecdote the author effectively expresses her disagreement,which allows the reader to relate to the situation emotionally.
In addition,she uses ethos to explain her argument. She gives an example of a child namedNimai from a tribal village who needed to find a job in order to support hisfamily, so Divakaruni’s mom hired him as a servant. This job had favorable working conditions thatallowed Nimai to economically support his family. By using this example, Divakaruninot only appeals to the reader emotionally, but she also states that this billis not applicable in all situations and other cultures. First, by the author’suse of ethos, the reader feels empathy towards Nimai and his pursuit to economicallysupport his family. The way in which Divakaruni writes the anecdote causes thereader to want the child to succeed; this anecdote indirectly leads the readerto support child labor to some extent. Second, this example disproves thenotion presented by the bill that all child labor is bad and should beprohibited.
It gives an exception to this idea, which then proves the argumentfor the bill being wrong and points out a faulty reasoning in the bill. She discloses a personal appeal toward the end of herarticle by giving the reader a brief look into her own experience with childlabor through her anecdote of Nimai, whom her mother had hired. Some could saythat this story would make Divakaruni partial and culturally willing to acceptthis form of employment. However, she has avoided this issue by intermixingfrequent concessions during every argument, keeping her American audience inmind. This brief story gives the reader a name and a face as an example of one ofthe thousands of these child laborers.Divakarunigoes back to yet another concession, considering the context of Americansociety and culture she puts child labor into a different perspective. “It iseasy for us to make this error,” (249) Divakaruni says because Americans have”wiped from their minds the memory” (249) of desperate conditions.
She usesthis forgiving statement to put her readers at ease again. However, she endsthe paragraph by restating her argument that it is still true that thesechildren “prefer bread to freedom” (249). She uses imagery to emotionallyattract the attention of the reader but this time in a different direction frombefore, by telling Americans that these terrible conditions they had forgottenwill force a parent to sell his or her child, which is unimaginable in our ownsociety. Throughouther passage, Divakaruni makes an excellent argument by restating her point ofview back and forth with the presentation of both the pros and cons of childlabor. She exercises caution by agreeing with her American audience, allowingthem to remain their sympathetic emotions while also using amiable sarcasm andlogical appeals to express the other side of the story. Divakaruni includes apersonal anecdote, where she tells the story of Nimai, a child who benefittedfrom employment. She uses this anecdote to show that allowing child labor isone way to give these children better lives in a non-American society.
Sheconcludes with a strong, powerful thought that will stay in the reader’s mind:the elimination of child labor could leave these children in worse conditions.Overall, Divakaruni has created a convincing argument that is difficult to disagreeand has affected the minds of many Americans through her writing.