In the article, “SWEAT SHOP”, the writer, Sarah Strickland tackles the constantly worrying subject of ‘sweatshop slavery’; workers being exploited to work for clothes-making companies. The main aim of the piece is to put across the plight of these people. The layout is simple, but effective, with an informative but meaningful sub-headline of “Gap short cost i?? 28, but the hard labour… ” which sums up the whole article. “SWEAT SHOP” is a bold title, depicting again simply what the article is about.
The message at the end about “protecting” the names of workers is also quite influential on the opinions of the readers, instilling in them the fact that these workers aren’t meant to be talking about their conditions, as something dishonest is going on. The beginning paragraphs are very descriptive, and set the scene, laying out for you exactly the kinds of situations the workers are living, such as “the daunting 7ft-high metal gate” depicted.
The way Strickland describes the workers as “reluctant” also adds to the inference people make immediately of the poor conditions, and how much the people employed there wish they were elsewhere. More proof it is an unpleasant place to work. Imagery is used constantly, forever backing up the first few more informative paragraphs with new ‘proof’ of poor, harsh conditions, such as the “confusions of wooden shacks” which is almost a metaphor and the “stagnant, mosquito-infested swamp” which are surrounded by the shacks.
The word “hovel” is used as people know exactly what it is; a dump. The writer gives a view of bareness and poverty in each descriptive passage she writes. The information about wages is vital and these and figures are stressed. To the average person, around i?? 30 is not much at all, and it seems impossible to live on these wages. Also the fact “they’d get fired” if they “told the truth” would increase suspicion and doubt in the minds of readers, towards the big companies.
The mundane regularity of these jobs also are driven home, and the unfairness of the females workers who are “worse off”. Strickland gradually builds up to quotes from influential people to back up what she has been saying. Facts form an important factor in the article for it to be made believable, for instance the leader of one of Cambodia’s Opposition parties saying there is “little” improvement, and that “many of the changes are cosmetic”, meaning it’s surface developments – changes to make the company look good.
A more balanced argument from the writer comes in the form of her concurring that improvements have been made, and she notes these down. The argument is well-researched, with quotes even from a chairman of the Garment Manufacturers Association, in which a balanced argument is made. Also, towards the end, the conclusion seems to be abrupt, but quite meaningful, with important facts finishing it off; how workers can manage on such a low wage. It’s therefore quite a contrasting essay, however with the main message being of the unfair treatment.
The audience of the newspaper would usually share similar political views to the newspaper itself – The Independent being a slightly left-wing, broadsheet paper; aiming its articles at people with those specific political tendencies – more inclined to sympathise with the less fortunate sufferers of capitalism. Also more intelligent and often middle class and upwards classes of people read The Independent and would have more influence generally, thus it is a good idea for them to be educated of matters such as these. The adjectives used are well-placed, adding extra effect.
A “daunting” gate seems much more impressive than a feeble adjective such as “scary”. It makes the image easier to envisage. There is also a little describing of simple things, such as the “brightly coloured jackets” which I think are placed in that sentence to add contrast to the other dull images surrounding it, such at the “muddle, pot-holed alley”. The fact the jackets are even brightly coloured seems quite conspicuous. The writer goes to great pains with her vocabulary to emphasise the circumstances. An enormous amount of imagery is also used, along with surprising factual information.
Describing the workers as “cowed” is a pitying image that goes straight to you, understandably. It implies the spirits of the workers are beaten; they are low in spirits, and it is due to their employers, and the “investors” that use them. I conclude the article is very persuasive in its use of language, and the best tactics used are shock-tactics, and dreadful images the descriptions of circumstances conjure up. It is certainly one to make the least pensive of people think and be at least a little angry at the companies.