Analysis of the Essay “The money” by Junot Diaz

free essayThe ability to critique a text, i.e. to determine its valuable and useful parts, is a very important skill for a scholar. There are many aspects considered when critiquing a text. It can be based on the author’s credibility, the type of publication as well as types and relevance of the sources used by the author. The importance of making analysis is to have an objective look at a piece of work and identify its validity irrespective of the parameters checked. The merits and demerits of the work are, therefore, the objects of focus.

“The money” by Junot Diaz is based on an account of the writer’s experience of a time when his house was broken into when his family had gone on vacation. He begins by explaining the situation of his family. They did not have a steady supply of income, but his mother used to send some money to their grandparents. Their state of nutrition was not sufficient because their family was broke.

When the writer was 12, his family went on vacation because his father wanted family members to know more about their country. Upon coming back, they realized that their house had been broken into. Some of their belongings had been stolen and author’s mother’s money had disappeared. According to Diaz, the robbery was not a surprise because in their neighborhood, it was a common occurrence and it was their turn.

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Despite the above sentiments, the family did not take the matter lightly. They felt as if they were being targeted because they were recent immigrates. Author’s mother took the burglary the hardest and most serious. She directed the anger to everyone, including her children who had nothing to do with the theft. No investigation concerning the robbery was I conducted. However, the writer somehow managed to postulate that his two friends were the ones who broke into their house. This suggestion was based on the kind of behavior they displayed when they were around him.

Diaz hatched up a plan to discover whether his postulation was true. He cleverly broke into his friend’s home and there he found the belongings stolen from his house. The author also found his mother’s stolen money beneath his friend’s mattress. It took him two days to return the money to his mother, though he had contemplated keeping it. The joy he expected his mother to have after he got her money back never happened. She was indifferent to his well-intentioned gesture. That was how the writer solved his one and only case.

Analysis of Text’s Successes and Shortcomings

“The money” is a well-written essay in many aspects. However, any work done by a human being cannot be devoid of flaws. I would like to first focus on the aspects in which the writer has done well concurrently with areas where he has some weaknesses. Junot Diaz has written the essay in the first person since it is a description of his experiences. He gives a detailed account of the story that gives the reader a good mental picture of the happenings. However, the writer has made some assertions and generalizations about the community in which he lived. Apart from the writer’s word, we do not have any other evidence to that effect. He should at least have put some references to those things that are not a first-hand account.

The type of publication is a blog that appeared in the New Yorker on June 13, 2011. The story is a good one for this kind of publication. The writer has done well to avoid the use of technical jargon because everyone can read this blog irrespective of his or her academic background. The language he uses is easily understandable by the readers.

As for the issue of accuracy and intelligibility of the author’s statements, it can be stated that while most meet this criterion, some do not. For example, the writer talks about people in his neighborhood being robbed in turns. The accuracy of this information cannot be determined. In terms of language, some of the statements do not use plain or pure English. Some statements in the text use language that in different quarters may be interpreted as obscene. For example, the word “assholes” is not reader-friendly to everyone. Despite these shortcomings in terms of language use, the rest of the text is written in plain understandable language.

Another thing to consider is the overall structure of the text. Junot Diaz begins with a very informative title that at least gives the reader a gist of the story. The title is written in italics to differentiate it from the rest of the essay. The advantage of it is that it enables the writer to avoid the confusion of this as part of the body. It also informs of the date of publication so that whoever is reading the essay may be able to put it into context. The essay has a well-written introduction that gives the reader a good background of the writer. In this way, the reader is made to understand the direction from which the author has approached his essay.

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The body of the text is quite informative and well arranged. The writer demonstrates a flow of thought that is not only admirable but also charismatic. The author’s use of imagery makes the understanding easier. The moment when he says, “300 smackers was the difference between … electricity and stone age” can serve an example (Diaz, 2011). He is actually trying to show how big the difference was. In the body, the writer uses hyperbole to prove some of his points. For instance, he says that any kid who leaves his bicycle unattended for one second is the one who is never going to see it again. One second is such a short time that it almost appears as an exaggeration, but the point is to show the level to which theft had reached in their community.

The length of paragraphs in the body is of the right quality. The writer has been able to mix both long and short paragraphs, therefore, making the flow very smooth. Some paragraphs are as short as one sentence while others are quite long. The sentence structure also follows the contemporary rules. A mixture of both long and short sentences is normally recommended. The writer has been able to do this with immense success. Some sentences are as short as two words. An example of this is “I knew” (Diaz, 2011). The strategy the author has adopted is good for reduction of reader fatigue. It keeps the reader interested throughout the story.

The writer has a clearly stated purpose from the very beginning of the story. He does not get lost during the essay but follows the plot to the very end. Junot Diaz has made good use of suspense as a tool of a good story telling. The writer poses the rhetorical question, “So what happened?” to create suspense and ensure that the readers remain interested in the rest of the story (Diaz, 2011). The essay also makes good use of vivid description, for instances, the writer depicts vividly the condition of his family’s financial status. The author does not need to describe his emotions in the story. He has achieved this by making the reader feel them without the need to state them.

The writer makes use of logical fallacies. For example, he says, “Everybody got hit; no matter who you were eventually it was your turn” (Diaz, 2011). This statement can be considered a fallacy since it may not necessarily be true.

The personal traits of the writer are well illustrated by the clear use of anecdotes. The reader can see the author as scheming. He is not the one to suffer without getting a remedy. His ability to hatch up a plan to break into his friend’s room and recover his mother’s stolen money reveals this trait. Therefore, it can be said that the writer is successful in his use of anecdotes.

There is a problem regarding the background of the author. The reader is not aware of the profession of the writer. For this reason, it is not easy to know what to expect from this particular author. It is difficult to tell whether Junot Diaz has the qualifications to do that kind of writing. It is also not easy to tell whether the writer has done this kind of writing before. In addition, the writer has not cited any relevant literature in his work. It poses questions about the credibility of the information presented. The ideas of theft in the community and the financial difficulties of his family have been over-emphasized. In the beginning, the writer almost begins to wonder whether the essay is based on the brokenness of the writer’s family or the theft that occurred in his family.

The author appears to have some underlying assumptions about the use of language by different people. For example, the use of such word as bullshit in the article in a newspaper is insensitive. He should not assume that all people are open to the use of any kind of language. This essay is not an academic one, hence there is no thesis statement stated at the beginning. For this reason, there is no affirmation of thesis expected in the end. However, the author has tried to organize the essay in the common format.

In conclusion, this essay is well-written because it has followed most of the laid down guidelines regarding the writing of essays. However, just like any work done by humans it cannot lack some flaws. This critical analysis has served to summarize and analyze the essay in terms of drawbacks and successes of the writer.