John McPhee is a detached observer in this profile of Brooklyn’s markets, which tells of a day in the Brooklyn markets; a place full of crime, starting with pick pocketing, robbery, and gangs. McPhee uses description as a strategy in this informative narrative to describe the characters, the crimes, and the responses of the victims. He also uses a lot of dialogue and gestures in this profile.
A day in the marketplace does not sound like it would be such a violent and threatening day, but in Brooklyn, New York, it is. McPhee recalls Lewis “sending word around from truck to truck that they should regularly announce in loud voices that pickpockets were present in the market”, (page 86 paragraph 1) but no one seemed to care. He describes why Brooklyn got the name, New York Pickpocket Academy in paragraph 1, “Half a dozen scores have been made there in one day” and in paragraph 3, “Fifty-Ninth Street , people just rip off stuff everywhere. You just expect it”. When people do get robbed, McPhee describes their distress as done in paragraph 5, “…sobbing pitifully, flailing her arms in despair”. He even goes on to describe in full detail of her clothing. “She is wearing a print dress, a wide-brimmed straw hat.” (page 86 paragraph 5).
When McPhee tells of Catherine Barta, a Russian woman, starting in paragraph 5, he uses dialogue, which involves many characters, but only in a small amount of time. Catherine Barta is crying because she thought someone stole her food stamps. McPhee involves many people such as Jeffery Mack, an eight year old boy, police; Joan Benack, the baker, and Lewis, a friend of McPhee. All these people help Ms. Barta by trying to raise money to her to buy the food. When Jeffery points out the cops, McPhee describes the gestures that Jeffery made. “‘There’ Jeffery lifts an arm and points” (page 87 paragraph 12).
John McPhee wrote a profile telling of petty crimes of pickpockting in Brooklyn. When writing, he made the profile...