Research of the theme of social class in Wall Street and Drown by Diaz

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Melville’s Wall Street and Drown written by Diaz gives a classic view of the theme of social class in the society thru different examples. Some critics point out that Melville has two separate lives where he skilled low standards jobs such as cabin boy on the whaling and a captive of Typee Cannibals. That makes him suffer slavery under the oppressors who appoint him in the gardens. While in the prisoner, he witnesses behaviors and rituals done by the Typee cannibals that affect her thoughts. On the other hand, the Drown illustrates the theme of social class through violence. For example, Rafa assaults a young boy to reveal what is under the mask. Violence runs through the novel until where Aurora and Yunior fight until blood bleed from their ears. From the review of the book, the theme of the social class becomes common through various ways as explained in the paper.

The theme of social class in the Drown starts from the Dominican stays in the streets. I find myself intrigued by the character Yunior in illustrating the topic of social diversity. In Diaz view, Yunior is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic (Frydman 133). They later change the home to the Washington D.C. The theme of the social class is characterized by the struggles of life, disability, sexual molestation, working class and family dynamics just to mention but a few instances. The discussion of the book in class left many students uncomfortable and emotional.

As mentioned earlier, Diaz portrays different lifestyles in the book by considering the elements of culture in the United States and the Dominican Republic. The author shows Yunior, and his brother leave home as they move around visiting relatives. In particular section, Yunior grappling with life as his family struggles to fit in different places. While staying in Dominican Yunior’s mother works as a casual laborer in the chocolate company. During which she sends them away to other relatives because of low income that cannot sustain them. The period becomes challenging to the family, and the husband moves to live in the United States to search for a better job. The topic of social class comes up with various problems such as separation, immigration, and issues in relationships. As a reader, the story becomes haunting as you see Yunior suffer in her young ages coupled with abusive patterns she receives from the father and girlfriends.

The problem brought by low living standards makes the family break as the father leaves the family and found in another affair. The situation sends the family into unnecessary tension. After her wife struggles to work in chocolate firms, he steals the money and migrates to the United States. While the rest of the family expects that he will send for, but he marries another wife and receives a child together. After many years of suffering, he finally brings his family to New York where he was living. During adverse suffering and poverty, the father abandons the family (Miller 30). Indeed, Diaz describes the ordinary life people live where more families break because of poverty and failure to meet the family needs. In fact, it brings frustrations to the father as the breadwinner making him flee away.

Lastly, the author explains social diversity using a sad short story entitled ‘Ysreal.’ During Yunior’s stay in the Dominican Republic, Ysrael is bullied and molest due to a low living standard that denied him access to good health after being eaten by a pig in the face. The boys from the neighborhood abuse Ysreal and demand to see what is hidden behind the mask. The boy seems helpless as Rafa order the whole troop to go and him with stones (Frydman 133). While on the bus a man hits Rafa would unmask for the boys to see the face. The short story describes how the disable people undergo suffering from the wealthy class. Suppose he would have been able to afford the medical expense that the North American doctors requested he would not have gone through such molestation. Diaz looks closely at the social class and disability.

Conversely, on the story of the Wall Street by Herman Melville also illustrates the imbalance present in the American social classes and the rot that the low level faces in the society. In the first instance, we consider the character Bartleby the Scrivener that acts to symbolize and characterize different social class in the short story (Reed 253). His life transforms from unemployed to become unemployed and finally a wealthy business owner and employer. At the first insight, Bartley works at the company of the attorney as a mere employee. The short story makes the reader reflect on the general life of the ordinary man and as an employee. The setting of the story tactfully explains the natural defiance and social hierarchy that the working class undergoes. Melville selection of the New York center exposes the harsh realities of life in the employment scenario (Meyer 90). To explain to the reader, the author chooses exciting personalities in the novel to represent the dominance that employer has over the employees in an economically oriented society. The people from the low class have to start as employees that must be loyal to their company despite the compensation package and working conditions.

The author explains the narrator is a typical lawyer who worries less about the health of the workers. Bartley has reported several cases of health problems, but he fails to recognize until Bartley dies. The unnamed character represents the large businesses, corporations and wealthy moguls who control the industries above the rest. All his actions represent that employer who merely listens to workers concerns and subdues them through inconsequential offerings. The book tells us that the barrier between the high and low class will not vanish easily. On the other hand, Bartley resembles the ordinary workers who operate under harsh conditions to earn a living. Also, he personifies the oppressed, labor unions and the poor society members that work with pressure to achieve organizational goals.


In summary, both the short stories of the Drown and the Wall Streets by Melville expose the issues social class imbalance in the society in different perspectives. Melville sees a Wall between the poor and the rich in the community and says that the gap will not be easy to close. Melville uses the character Bartley and the unnamed oppressor who do not recognizes the conditions of their hardworking employees. The attorney assumes Bartley health report until he succumbs to death. In contrast, Diaz uses Yunior and Ysreal to illustrate the agonies the poor undergo in the society. Poverty and low standard of leaving deny Ysreal good health and exposes him to molestation by the neighboring children. Diaz says that poor living condition leads to separation, breakage of marriages among other things.

Work Cited

Frydman, Jason. “Violence, Masculinity, and Upward Mobility in the Dominican Diaspora: Junot Díaz, the Media, and Drown.” Hispanic-American Writers 8 (2009): 133.

Meyer, Joseph Matthew. “Melville’s Bartleby, The Scrivener.” The Explicator 64.2 (2006): 89-90.

Miller, Matthew L. “Trauma in Junot Diaz’s drown.” Notes on Contemporary Literature 41.1 (2011).

Reed, Naomi C. “The Specter of Wall Street:” Bartleby, the Scrivener” and the Language of Commodities.” American Literature 76.2 (2004): 247-273.

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