Jessica Alexander Chapter 1 Summary

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The first chapter of any book is critical to setting up a foundation for the book. It serves to entice readers and make them interested in continuing. When done poorly, the first chapter may cause readers to lose interest in the book entirely. Jessica Alexander’s audience is obviously anyone who is interested in what it is like to be a humanitarian aid worker, but it is not clear in the first chapter whether it is actually about the humanitarian aid system or about herself. Alexander had an unusual and possibly ineffective way of introducing her story that is both confusing and potentially off-putting. The language used by Alexander is a single syllable syntax that is still very descriptive of setting and her emotions, but was not adequate. She also uses Westernized similes like when she relates a guard to a “grandpa on a rocker in front of our door” (6). The compared subject in her similes is closely tied to her white, middle-upper class upbringing. Yet, spends very little time (if any time) describing the people she’s trying to help or…show more content…
She says little about humanitarian aid in the first chapter besides how much it’s making her hate her life. The negative description of humanitarian aid work is a bit off-putting, not only to people who opened the book thinking they would be learning about aid work but also to her personality as a character. It’s easily assumable that being an aid worker would be a difficult and trying job. But the way Alexander portrays herself right from the start may make it difficult for reader to sympathize with her. It has been suggested that the point of the book was to break the idea of aid workers being humble and selfless people, which in the end the book does very
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