What is Truly The Best Way to Combat Poverty?


In his article “The Power of a Dinner Table,” David Brooks would contend that personal relationships are the most effective tool in battling poverty. David Brooks is a Political op-ed commentator for the New York Times who wrote the article in 2017 during a time of political turmoil in America. He wrote this article as a way to show togetherness and to explore the value of human relationships. He uses his own stories and experiences to construct his argument and to inform his readers on the effect of a personal relationship. David Brooks gets his readers to consider the influence that relationship has on poverty by using personal stories, loaded language, and examples of success.

Brooks uses stories obtained from his personal experiences to convey to the reader the importance of relationships in combating poverty. Through the story of a young woman who was able to let her feelings out around Kathy, Brooks can show the close relationship built up between these “at-risk” kids and the effects of a genuine relationship on the healthy development of a child. Another example of Brooks showing the relationship between genuine connections and combating poverty is the effect of the “All Our Kids” charity. Through the charity, David and Kathy helped children realize their “fullness” and guided them towards college and service. The effect of “AOK” shows that college and future success is an attainable goal for children if they have authentic support and care.

Brooks’ use of loaded language allows the reader to understand the impact and necessity of relationships in combating poverty. Through his statement “... by some miracle, hostile soil has produced charismatic flowers,” in Paragraph 4, Brooks can properly illustrate the depth of the impact of a relationship in the combating of poverty. If the “hostile soil” is the negative environment the kids are in and the “charismatic flowers” is the successful child, then the fertilizer must be relationships. The importance of individual relationships in the fight against poverty is highlighted by the statement “Souls are not saved in bundles. Love is the necessary force” in paragraph 17. This quote shows the necessity of personal and individual relationships between children and adults to set them up for a successful life through the use of the phrase “necessary force.”

Through the use of examples of success, Brooks can demonstrate the potential effects of a personal relationship in the combating of poverty and the development of children. Brooks’ examples of the depth of the relationships shared between Kathy and David and the kids help illustrate the success of their efforts to give at-risk kids a healthy relationship. It shows how a healthy relationship has not only made the kids more kind towards David and Kathy but also other children. Brooks’ demonstration of the passions held by some of the kids shows the success of a relationship in combating poverty because the kids now have an outlet for their interests, and also a potential career. Children having a safe space to foster their interests and hobbies is healthy in the development of a child and could only be provided through a personal relationship. 

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