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This follows along with the water example zweig

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considered part of the working class; however, it is obvious that they are very different. This follows along with the “water example” Zweig discusses in chapter one. Water has three defined states: ice, liquid, and steam, but there are variations within each state (i.e. the liquid could be warm or cold), much like the class system (Zweig 37). Claudine’s needs greatly out weigh Roop’s, but they will be treated and viewed almost identically by society. Although Claudine and Roop are in the same class, Claudine is on welfare, Roop is not. Being on welfare proves to be extremely challenging for Claudine and she faces many of the struggles Zweig discusses in his book. Many woman are thought of as “welfare queens”, meaning they are living “gloriously” off of the governments money, some of them are even thought to have had more children simply for the extra money (Zweig 79). Zweig explains how many people on welfare are misrepresented, not everyone is attempting to abuse the system. In Claudine’s life we see these stereotypes played out. When Claudine first went to Roop’s apartment, he asked about her children. She became extremely offended because she is aware that he might have been implying that 2
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she was a “welfare queen”. He also, at one point, implies that she brought on her own troubles by having so many children, considering she was in control of her decision to do so. This somewhat correlates to chapter four of The Working Class Majority: America’s Best Kept Secret when Zweig discusses how society is trained to believe that the working class are responsible for their problems and place in society. Yes, Claudine could have chosen to not have children, but she had no control over the other aspects of her lifestyle. She, like most of the working class, was most likely born into it. Roop’s questions also show some of the hostility within the working class itself. Rather than all come together, as a means of gaining more power, working class members sometimes turn against each other due to struggle instilled by the higher classes. As we saw with the small fight between Roop and Claudine, there is a great deal on tension within the working class due to the fact that they are often viewed as separate from the poor. Zweig stated that “more than half the working class experiences poverty in a ten year period” (90) This proves that trying to divide the poor from the working class would be wrong. In order to eliminate poverty it is important to improve the working and living standards of the working class as a whole rather than separating them. Separation will lead to increased abuse of the “lowest class” and cause isolation that will persuade some individuals to no longer even desire to be a part of American society. Inclusion of
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