In her passage “Live
Free and Starve,” Chitra Divakaruni explains why The United States House of
Congress should not have passed the bill, which restrains the importation of
products from manufactories where child labor is used. As a result, she
mentions this bill will adversely impact the lives and sustenance of children
and their families in Developing Nations. Divakaruni uses different logical
appeals by giving a personal anecdote, which enables the reader to relate to an
emotional experience of how this bill will adversely affect these children.
Divakaruni introduces her argument by seeming to agree
with 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 horror
of forced labor. A distinctive utilization of nationalistic expression in her
introduction invites the reader to connect with her point of view. She creates
common grounds with her audience regarding liberty, human rights, and freedom.
These affable overtones in the first paragraph, however, are displaced by the
sarcastic tone of her last sentence, when she mentions these children in
Developing Nations could be “free and happy, like American children,” which predicts
her later contrast of children in America versus children in Developing Nations
who benefit from different economic structures. However,
she indicates her disagreement with the proposed bill.
using 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 named
Nimai from a tribal village who needed to find a job in order to support his
family, so Divakaruni’s mom hired him as a servant. This job had favorable working conditions that
allowed Nimai to economically support his family. By using this example, Divakaruni
not only appeals to the reader emotionally, but she also states that this bill
is not applicable in all situations and other cultures. First, by the author’s
use of ethos, the reader feels empathy towards Nimai and his pursuit to economically
support his family. The way in which Divakaruni writes the anecdote causes the
reader to want the child to succeed; this anecdote indirectly leads the reader
to support child labor to some extent. Second, this example disproves the
notion presented by the bill that all child labor is bad and should be
prohibited. It gives an exception to this idea, which then proves the argument
for the bill being wrong and points out a faulty reasoning in the bill.
She discloses a personal appeal toward the end of her
article by giving the reader a brief look into her own experience with child
labor through her anecdote of Nimai, whom her mother had hired. Some could say
that this story would make Divakaruni partial and culturally willing to accept
this form of employment. However, she has avoided this issue by intermixing
frequent concessions during every argument, keeping her American audience in
mind. This brief story gives the reader a name and a face as an example of one of
the thousands of these child laborers.
goes back to yet another concession, considering the context of American
society and culture she puts child labor into a different perspective. “It is
easy for us to make this error,” (249) Divakaruni says because Americans have
“wiped from their minds the memory” (249) of desperate conditions. She uses
this forgiving statement to put her readers at ease again. However, she ends
the paragraph by restating her argument that it is still true that these
children “prefer bread to freedom” (249). She uses imagery to emotionally
attract the attention of the reader but this time in a different direction from
before, by telling Americans that these terrible conditions they had forgotten
will force a parent to sell his or her child, which is unimaginable in our own
her passage, Divakaruni makes an excellent argument by restating her point of
view back and forth with the presentation of both the pros and cons of child
labor. She exercises caution by agreeing with her American audience, allowing
them to remain their sympathetic emotions while also using amiable sarcasm and
logical appeals to express the other side of the story. Divakaruni includes a
personal anecdote, where she tells the story of Nimai, a child who benefitted
from employment. She uses this anecdote to show that allowing child labor is
one way to give these children better lives in a non-American society. She
concludes 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 disagree
and has affected the minds of many Americans through her writing.