Living with strangers
It can be an overwhelming experience to move from a small city to a big city; you replace the safe surroundings with new and unknown people and places. It can be a culture shock, and it will surely take some time to adapt to the new culture and norms; norms such as how to interfere with other people. An example of this kind of culture shock is portrayed in the essay Living with strangers, which is written by Siri Hustvedt in 2002.
In this essay, Hustvedt describes her personal experiences regarding her move from Minnesota to New York City in 1978. The essay is published in The New York Times, which is known for being more than just news. It contains inspiring pieces, and the target audience of the paper is mostly young people under 30 and high-income earners. It is world wide, but this particular essay is mostly addressed to the people of New York or people, who have some kind of knowledge about the city. 
This can be seen in the essay due to the fact that Hustvedt makes several references to places in New York, which primarily New Yorkers will understand. An example of this is the following quotation in which she refers to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Atlantic Avenue station: ”A couple of weeks ago, after seeing a play at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, my husband and I walked down the stairs at the Atlantic Avenue station in Brooklyn.”
These references to real places and the fact that Hustvedt writes about her own personal experiences substantiate the genre of the text, which is an essay. An essay is characterized by being authentic and trustworthy, and Hustvedt’s reflections and anecdotes are exactly that. This trustworthiness makes the essay more relevant for the reader, who easier can identify oneself with the experiences and opinions.
By being a trustworthy source, Hustvedt uses the appeal form ethos, which is the validity of the author. Besides ethos, she also uses pathos. In the quotation above, she uses the personal pronoun I and tells about a personal experience with her husband, which makes the essay personal and therefore is an example of pathos.
In her reflections, Hustvedt focuses on the differences between Minnesota and New York and especially on the urban living in New York. She describes the urban living as being very impersonal and you often feel alone, which can be seen in the following quotation: “Most of the time, we insulate ourselves out of necessity.” She uses the word insulate, which indicates a closeness and loneliness in the urban living.
This also refers to the title Living with strangers, which implies a paradox; you are surrounded by people, yet you feel alone, because most people act like everyone else is non-existing.
This is called the pretend-it-isn’t-happening-rule, which every New Yorker apparently knows. Basically, as the name indicates, you are best of, if you ignore others and pretend certain situations do not happen. She describes three situations, where this rule is applied. One of these situations is about a man, who spits at Hustvedt whilst sitting with her husband. They do not act, because of the pretend-it-isn’t-happening-rule, and because it could have been dangerous: “And acting, as everyone in the city knows, can be dangerous. It is usually better to treat the unpredictable among us as ghosts (…)” This situation is the kind of situation, which substantiate the pretend-rule; because of the dangers of unpredictability, it is best to treat the unpredictable as ghosts.
But Hustvedt does not support the use of this rule. She thinks life according to this rule, would be too boring and trivial: “To live in strict accordance to the Pretend Law all the time would unbearably boring.”
Hustvedt bases this opinion on a situation, which involves her daughter, Sophie. Sophie has completely incorporated the Pretend Law in her way of living, but one day a stranger declares his love to her on the train station. Sophie is embarrassed, but no one else bats an eye. Except one man who says: “It looks like you have an admirer.”
This short sentence lightens up Sophie’s day and gives her a feeling of human solidarity as Hustvedt puts it: “With those few words, and at no cost to himself, her gave her what she needed – a feeling of human solidarity.”  Therefore Hustvedt encourages the reader, who is mainly the population of New York, to break the Pretend Law, acknowledge others’ existence and feel like a human being again.
To conclude the essay it can be said that the main audience of the essay is the young and high-income population of New York. The essay is based on Hustvedt trustworthy personal experiences in New York, and thereby she uses ethos and pathos. She characterizes the urban living as being lonely and isolated, mainly because of the pretend-it-isn’t-happening-rule. She is not a big fan of this rule, and she encourages the New Yorkers to break the rule acknowledge each other’s existence.
 Unknown author. (2013). Ask. http://www.ask.com/art-literature/new-york-times-target-audience-c5e77c29eb68cef4
 Hustvedt, Siri. (2002). The New York Times. Line 36-37.
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 Hustvedt, Siri. (2002). The New York Times. Line 104-105
 Hustvedt, Siri. (2002). The New York Times. Line 90.
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