Sociology Sample Assignment


Essay 3 Controlled Source Persuasive Synthesis Essay – Due

Essay 3: Practice Controlled Source Persuasive Synthesis Essay 

Your third essay is going to help prepare you for the work you must do to complete your research project for English 102. Essay 2 is called a Controlled Source Persuasive Synthesis Essay, and it is a practice essay. To break this label down I offer this explanation. 

First, you do not have to locate the sources for this essay, and that is why it is called “Controlled Source.” I have located the sources for you.

In this essay I have also given you a suggested claim that you will may agree with, disagree with or qualify. You have the option of crafting your own claim based on the three readings and our class discussion surrounding the readings and the topic.

As for the synthesis, what you need to know is that the word “synthesis,” for our purposes in English 102, means to draw on different sources to combine their ideas on a single topic and bring the sources together in academic conversation. In order to effectively synthesize, you must combine your own voice with the voice of the sources into a new unified (coherent) whole.

This assignment is a “persuasive synthesis” because after reading the sources carefully and critically, you must form an opinion about the claim (or form an opinion about the topic and craft a claim) based on the observations of your readings and your personal experience. You will develop your position in order to agree with, disagree with, or qualify the claim {To “qualify” the claim would be to agree with it or disagree with it up to a certain point.}

The Prompt 

There is much talk in today’s society about the income inequality that is prevalent in Americas Super Consumer economy. Many scholars, economists and educators are quick to point out that the current state of our economy is one which makes it difficult for people earning middle income to maintain a middle-class lifestyle as inflation and economic stagnation make it impossible for wages to keep up with consumer prices. The current state of the American economy also makes it difficult for people living in poverty to rise out of poverty to the middle class.

The Claim 

As American citizens, we need to more fully educate ourselves on how poverty is affecting our citizens and our democracy. We need to have a greater understanding of how poverty exists so that we can takes appropriate steps to lessen or eliminate it in American society.

The Assignment 

Support (agree with), refute (disagree with) or qualify (agree/disagree to a certain point) with the above claim [or the claim you have developed] by crafting well-reasoned, well-supported, meticulously proofread argument. You must cite the three articles with which you have been provided. They were handed out in class. Links to the articles are also posted here and on D2L 

Length requirement: 3.5 – 4 pages {not including Work Cited} 

Font: 12 point and legible such as Times New Roman, Ariel, Courier etc. 

The Sources: 

Kate Geiselman. “My Hard Lessons Teaching Community College.” From com

Madeline Ostrander. “What Poverty Does to the Young Brain.”

Virginia Sole-Smith “It’s Walgreens Vs. the American Dream in the Battle for Overtime.”


America’s Poverty

The view that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer has been heard and echoed repeatedly in reference to America’s income inequality. Though ironic, it comes as no surprise that America, a continent that easily dwarfs other countries in terms of wealth would be affected by the issue of poverty at such high levels. While much has said regarding the poverty levels, many economists, educators and scholars feel that the income inequality prevalent in America may very well be the reason why it is difficult to live and maintain a middle class lifestyle or to rise out of poverty into the middle class in the current economic state. With this knowledge in mind, the only way America, has a remote chance of lessening or eliminating poverty altogether is by understanding how it exists.


A key factor to understanding how poverty exists is to understand what it does to the victim’s brain. The conditions that come with living in poverty such as overcrowding and exposure to violence can affect a developing brain negatively in the same way drugs or alcohol does. The stress that comes with living in poverty during childhood has over time led people into depression and certain forms of addiction in their adulthood. According to Ostrander, “poverty perpetuates poverty, generation after generation, by acting on the brain.”

The maternal stress response system is a very crucial thing to the development of a child’s brain and may crumble under pressure, thereby releasing certain hormones that affect its development. While some children are able to rise past this challenge in their adulthood, other cannot. The whole idea of poverty may be so ingrained in them that their brain’s surface area becomes smaller leading them to be ‘less smart’ or in some cases, to do the same things their parents did like smoking or doing what was being done in the environment around them while they were growing up. Giving the poorer citizens access to free or affordable prenatal and pediatric care in addition to accessible pre-school education would therefore help in stopping the cycle of an undesirable situation whereby children grow up to be just as poor as their parents, which in turn would help curb the poverty levels at local, state, and national levels.

According to estimates from the Department of Labor, about six million Americans have jobs in which they have been promoted to managerial positions leading to their classification as overtime-exempt despite the fact that they end up working for more hours (Sole-Smith). Focusing on the middle class citizens, some of them work on hourly wage pay while the rest are on salaried positions. Normally, a promotion equals better pay and less work, but not in this case. Employers all over America have figured out that one way in which to cut costs is to promote hourly workers to salaried positions as it would mean that they are not paid for the work they do during overtime. In actual sense, employees in managerial positions end up putting in more hours than the weekly average. Moreover, they tend to have inconsistent working hours and still get paid the same pay as those on hourly pay on average and sometimes even less.

While people on salaried positions are not considered poor, their situation helps in explaining why most middle-class citizens stay where they are financially despite being promoted in their places of work. This can be frustrating at times especially when an employer makes the assumption that the promotion of an employee to a managerial position gives them the right to call on them, to compel them to work at any time, and ask for them to work overtime. Thus, the newly promoted middle class employees stop being in control of their schedules at some point. For this reason, a motion has been moved time and time again to incorporate overtime pay not just for hourly paid employees but for people in managerial positions as well. Once employees stop being in control of their schedules, and especially those with families, they end up quitting and opting for a low-paying hourly job where they live from paycheck to paycheck leading them back to where they started – in poverty.

Another contribution to the income inequality gap is the different education levels among citizens in America. Higher education levels ideally help the economic situations of the poorer Americans by giving them access to a higher pay thereby contributing to poverty reduction. However, getting access to higher education is sometimes considered a luxury for those that are from low-income families. Students that these families rarely get the chance to go to college and if they do, they are less likely to graduate due to high drop-out rates. Community colleges have helped a lot in terms of efforts by students from low-income families to acquire education as they are a bit more affordable as opposed to private universities and colleges. Even with the existence of community colleges, there are still cases where many poor people cannot manage just enough to get them by school. The result of this situation is that the inequality gap keeps getting bigger.


Despite mentoring, counseling, and hand-holding students through their time in the colleges, some students still drop out or reach non-completion; at first glance, it seems that there is little that can be done about this situation (Geiselman). For such students, the only thing that can keep them going is their skills. While higher education is a considered a beacon of hope in many a circumstance, Americans should understand that it is not a must-have for everyone. Some people may lack higher education but portray great skills in areas such as management and art. The impression here is not that employers should hire everyone that comes in looking for a job without a bachelor’s degree; rather, the idea is that they should take a second look at their unique talents and skills before turning them away. Yes, education is important in one’s efforts to achieve a life that one desires, but it is not the only way through which the current inequality gap can be bridged.

Once Americans educate themselves on how poverty manifests itself and how it affects them and their country, they will be able to take appropriate measures to alleviate it. It is important to identify the roots of poverty so that citizens can know how to stop watering them at a very young age. As a starting point, taking special care of pregnant mothers from poor backgrounds and implementing proposals on paying overtime wages to salaried employees working in managerial positions will great help in making their middle class achieve a higher level of financial stability. Moreover, Americans should not forget that access to higher education is not a perfect yardstick for determining everyone’s ability to achieve financial stability. Taking these factors into consideration will enable people to come up with better ways of dealing with poverty, hence bridging the income inequality gap.

Works Cited

Geiselman, Kate. My Hard Lessons Teaching Community College. March 7, 2011. Web.

Ostrander, Madeline. What Poverty Does to the Young Brain. June 4, 2015. Web.

Sole-Smith, Virginia. It’s Walgreens vs. the American Dream in the Battle for Overtime. November 5, 2015. Web.

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