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Source Evaluation

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Who created the source? Did the author produce the source for personal use, for one or more individuals, or for a large audience? What is the source’s purpose? If the source is recollecting an event, how long after the event is the retelling?

The source was created by William W. Sanger. It becomes evident from reading that the author is targeting a large audience with his book. He discusses the results of an investigation of the reasons why women engage in prostitution. Out of the 2000 total participants, 513 mentioned inclination as their reason for prostitution while 525 said destitution was the cause of their prostitution. Therefore, they prostituted in order to be able to afford basic needs (Sanger, p. 221). The investigation on the causes of prostitution was conducted in 1858, whereas Sanger wrote the book sixty-three years later. The purpose of the source is to expose the various factors that push women into prostitution and to appeal to the relevant authorities to tackle these underlying causes in order to eradicate the vice.

Who is the original audience? Was the source meant to be public or private?

In my opinion, the original audience is the public who has assumed for several years that prostitutes engage in prostitution willingly or because they want easy money, and consequently judged them harshly. While these reasons are partly true, some women prostitute due to abandonment, destitution, and seduction. This indicates that they are pushed into such occupation because of the actions of others, or their present circumstances. An example could be the respondent who was dumped by a ship captain after making her pregnant. Consequently, her circumstances forced her into joining prostitution to support herself (Sanger, p. 223).

What underlying values can you discern from the source itself? What things does the author care about?

When reading the source, it becomes vivid that women are not to be blamed solely for prostitution; there are several author factors that contribute to their decision of becoming prostitutes. For instance, the source holds that men are partly to blame for women’s prostitution because they seduce women, sleep with them, and abandon their responsibilities of raising children. These facts force women to prostitute to fend for their children. The author cares about the harsh treatment that prostitutes get from the public, and he is attempting to let the public know that it is not entirely their fault to prostitute.

What underlying values does the audience have (or the author believes the audience has)? Which of these values are shared by the author and audience and which are in tension? Is the author trying to persuade his or her audience? Inform them? Teach them?

The audience believes that prostitutes willingly engage in prostitution because of the easy money involved. Consequently, they have been treated with disrespect and branded as immoral people because of the degrading nature of their work. It is worth noting that both the audience and author are aware that prostitution is morally wrong; however, they differ in whom to blame for the vice. The author informs his audience of the various causes of prostitution, which makes the source informative. He concludes by hoping that prompt action will be taken against those who encourage prostitution now when some of the causal factors have been examined (Sanger, p. 224).

What underlying values does the modern reader have that may conflict with the values expressed in the source? How might this hinder the modern reader’s understanding of the past?

The source holds that it is not wholly the woman’s fault to engage in prostitution. However, the modern reader may have a problem with this notion since there are other decent jobs that women can do to support themselves and their families other than prostitution. Because of this conflict, the modern reader may think that prostitution is justified because the author of the source seems to be on the side of prostitutes.

How does the source confirm or contrast with history as told by the authors of our textbook?

The source contrasts with history since it holds that women are not to be blamed for engaging in prostitution; that they are driven into this sin by circumstance. On the other hand, historically, prostitution has been regarded as degrading and immoral, which has made prostitutes be treated as second-class citizens. Therefore, while the source respects women prostitutes, historically they have always been despised.

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