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Michelle Obama

14 Dec 2016Personal Essays

Introduction

Michelle Obama is an American Lawyer and the wife to the 2008 Democratic nominee for the American presidential elections Barack Obama.Michelle was born in 1964 in the South Side of Chicago, where she also grew up. She is a graduate of the Princeton University and the Harvard Law School. Michelle has worked at a corporate firm (Sidley Austin), Mayor of Chicago office, at the University of Chicago, and the University of Chicago hospitals. Michelle and her family live in Chicago’s South Side, and she has been acknowledged for her demeanor, fashion sense, and style.

Being the wife to Barack Obama who is the Illinois senator and the 2008 Democratic nominee for the Unites States president, Michelle has continued to receive great public and media attention. This has resulted to the publication of many articles which have focused on her profile. As a potential First Lady, there is need for the American people to know more about Michelle. This gives the media the responsibility to inform people about the various public figures, Michelle included. One article “Barack Rocks” by Richard Wolffe in the NEWSWEEK of February 25, 2008 gives a detailed profile of Michelle Obama. Another article “The Other Obama” by Lauren Collins in the New Yorker of March 10, 2008 also gives a profile of Michelle. These articles will be used in this paper, to compare Michelle’s two profiles.

Discussion

The two articles have several similarities in relation to Michelle’s profile. One major similarity is that, the two authors have managed to give a description of Michelle and her life experiences. The two authors have pointed out Michelle Obama’s excellent academic qualifications and they acknowledge that Michelle Obama is bright and intelligent, which made her to earn places in some of the best and most prestigious education institutions in America. For instance, Wolffe confirms that Michelle is a graduate of the Princeton University and the Harvard Law School. Though Collins does not mention about the Princeton University, she asserts that Michelle graduated from the Harvard Law School.

Due to her brightness in class, Michelle was even able to skip the second grade, according to Wolffe’s article. The Princeton University is said to have been overwhelmingly white and for the privileged. However, Michelle’s intelligence and hard work at the Princeton University led to her graduation with departmental honors. This earned her a place at Harvard Law School, after which she managed to get a job at a corporate firm. By attending some of the best education institutions and performing excellently, Michelle is an excellent lawyer (Wolffe, R.2008).

The two authors have managed to use different words and styles of language through the articles to show Michelle’s excellent academic and professional qualifications .Another similarity between the two articles is that, Wolffe and Collins have brought out Michelle’s family background. This is very important for the reader when it comes to learning about a particular public figure. The authors have done this by focusing on Michelle’s childhood. For instance, the two articles point out that Michelle grew up living in a small family house located in the Chicago’s South Side. From this humble background, Michelle has risen to what she is today. The authors are able to give us a comparison of Michelle’s life when young and now assisting the readers to know where Michelle Obama is coming from, in relation to her background.

Through Michelle’s profile, the authors have managed to bring out the issue of racism and its effects on the African-American students. Michelle is described by Wolffe as one of the African-American students who was discriminated due to her race. Racism is an issue of great concern in America, and bringing out the issue in the articles assists the public to realize that just like many other African-American students ,Michelle went through the challenge of being discriminated against.Wolffe describes in details Michelle’s experience in school, where she was faced with the challenge of racism. In addition, how she dealt with this challenge is discussed.

In Princeton University, African- American students were viewed as people who did not deserve to be there, but rather as “affirmative –action recipients”. With her two African-American friends, Alele and Acree, Michelle established a friendship which assisted them to share their concerns about racism in school. They even hanged out in areas not visited by the whites. While Michelle and her friends hanged out at the campus social club at the Third World Center, their white classmates hanged out around Princeton’s eating hubs.

It is the racial tension in school that triggered Michelle to write a Sociology thesis write up “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community”. Lauren Collins uses several words to imply that Michelle had experienced discrimination due to her race. She uses the statement, “traversed vast landscapes of race and class” to explain Michelle’s life experiences. This statement makes an implication that Michelle has had to overcome challenges as a result of her race and background.

The articles have successfully managed to bring out Michelle’s strong character and personality. Though the two authors have used different words, the articles bring out Michelle’s character. For instance, Wolffe uses words and Michelle’s life experiences to assist the reader understand the kind of a person that she is. Collins on the other hand, has managed to bring out the character qualities by highlighting them briefly. According to Wolffe’s article, Michelle can be described as intelligent, hardworking, commited, dedicated to her work, humorous, determined, encouraging, confident, strong, and successful. Collins just points out Michelle’s character qualities briefly without using detailed description. Collins in the article show Michelle as intelligent,hardworking,strong, disciplined,determined,cool in temperament,commited and honest. It is her honesty that has contributed to her popularity with the media and the electorate (Collins, L.2008).

Despite the similarities between the two articles, there are some differences. Wolffe’s article “Barack Rocks” is long and it gives more details about Michelle’s life as compared to Collins article “The Other Obama”.Wolffe uses simple language and elaborates on what he is discussing in the article. Through the article, Wolffe manages to give a detailed description of Michelle’s experiences in childhood, school, professional career, marriage, and her husband’s political life. Some facts about Michelle are stated, while others can be derived from the descriptions in the article.

It is through these descriptions in Wolffe’s article that a reader can be able to make conclusions about Michelle Obama without necessarily getting the facts stated out by the author. In addition to this, the language that is used in the article is simple for the reader to understand. For instance, Michelle’s school experiences in Princeton University and Harvard Law School are described into details, with the explanation on how Michelle and her friends managed to deal with the issue of racism provided.

As compared to Wolffe’s article, Collin’s “The Other Obama” is shorter and only gives a brief description of Michelle’s experiences in childhood, school, work, marriage, and political career of her husband. The article brings out Michelle’s character and family background by providing brief statements about Michelle.Futhermore,Collin’s article fails to provide the reader with a detailed profile of Michelle.Instead,it summarizes her school and work experiences.

It is important to note that some of the details that Wolffe has given in the profile are not reflected in Collin’s article. A good example is the mentioning of Princeton University by Wolffe as one of the prestigious schools that Michelle went through. However, Collins does not mention the Princeton University, but mentions about Michelle’s enrollment and graduation from the Harvard Law School. Collins also fails to discuss Michelle’s professional career into details, only highlighting the different places in which she has worked.

The issue of racism in the American education institutions is emphasized in Wolffe’s article “Barack Rocks”. In this article, racial discrimination in schools through which Michelle learned is discussed in details. However, the article by Collins makes a statement that only implies that Michelle went through challenges as a result of her race and social class. For instance, Wolffe gives a clear picture of how racial pide segregated Michelle from her white school mates, her feelings about the racial pide, and how together with her friends Michelle dealt with racism.

Michelle’s feelings about racism are discussed, with the article stating that the tension triggered her to write a sociology thesis “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community”. The article by Collins does not provide this information. Michelle’s involvement and feelings about her husband’s political career are well reflected in “Barack Rocks”, unlike in “The Other Obama”.Collins in her article uses the name “Obama” to refer to Michelle Obama due to the article’s title “The Other Obama”.In this case, Michelle is discussed as “the Other Obama”.Wolffe on the other hand uses the name “Michelle” to refer Michelle Obama.

Conclusion

Michelle Obama is currently viewed as the potential First Lady, with only few days to go before the American citizens go to the polls. For the Americans, it is not just important to have a good president, but also a First Lady. Through the articles that have been written about Michelle Obama, the people can learn about her. She is now enjoying great attention from the media and the public. The articles written on Michelle have some similarities and differences, but the reader can learn a lot from the articles’ content.

References

  • Collins, L.2008.The Other Obama.The New Yorker .March 10, 2008 www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/03/10/080310fa_fact_collins Accessed on October 28, 2008
  • Wolffe, C. (2008). Barrack Rocks. February 25, 2008 www.newsweek.com/id/112849  Accessed on October 28, 2008

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