Exit Zero Analysis

1529 Words7 Pages
In Exit Zero (2013), author Christine J. Walley has dedicated her life to learn about the American class system, specifically the middle class. She defines class as “our sense of identity—who we understand ourselves to be and the unequal ways in which we perceive ourselves, and, are in turn, perceived by others in relation to those from different class backgrounds—and what these experiences mean to us” (Walley 90). Through her autobiographical ethnography, Walley relates the stories of her relatives to create a narrative of the effects the steel mills encompassed after shutting down in the 1980s in addition to sharing her personal story about her upward mobility she posits that class is ultimately about inequality. To supplement her definition of class, race must be integrated as the unequal circumstances immigrants suffer prohibit them from advancing as far as Americans. To put things in retrospect, Walley begins her ethnography with the story of her great-grandparents’ generation immigrating to the United States during the post-World War II era—America’s pinnacle for middle-class growth—to start a new life in Southeast Chicago. Walley illustrates the struggles of her Swedish family by introducing her immigrant great-grandfather’s memoir, Big Grandpa, an immigrant from Sweden. To exemplify his progress and hindrances, Walley incorporates anecdotes about childhood, pictures of her family, and conversations with her family. Although Walley’s family grappled with despair
Get Access