Even with riches beyond imagination, Oprah is still that wonderful generous woman people look up to in time of need. She is a heroine in the real world. Her numerous contributions to society are a part of the features that made her so popular in the public eye. The Oprah Book Club is one of Oprah’s greatest contributions to society. The books that Oprah chooses often consist of messages about overcoming challenges, and pursuing the things one longs to accomplish. Every book that Oprah selects instantly becomes a best seller (Tannen 196).
Nearly 10 million copies of eight serious novels, including Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, have flown out of bookstores on Oprah’s word. Morrison was the first black writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature; without Oprah’s assistance, her book would not receive the necessary amount of attention for success. Through the book club, Oprah exposed society to some of the greatest literature of all time, like The Deep End of the Ocean and The Color Purple. Another contribution of from Oprah’s book club is its educational value.
Oprah’s books get the public reading and a reading public is an educated public. She is able to educate the public in literature and expand society’s knowledge while lessening the illiteracy rate. Aside from the book club, Oprah contributes to society through charitable foundations like The Boys and Girls Club and Unicef. When Oprah asked her loyal T. V. audience to donate money for the formation of the world’s biggest piggy bank for disadvantaged students, she raised one million dollars in one day.
The fund was collected to provide college tuition, and Oprah matched the million dollars she raised with her own contribution. In 1998, Oprah drastically changed the lives of children in Africa when she journeyed half way around the world to bring gifts to malnourished children. The children called it “Christmas in summer,” she showered them with gifts like shoes, backpacks, school supplies, and toys (CNN News). Oprah’s acts of generosity and her ability to get the public involved demonstrate how influential Oprah can be in the public eye and her commitment to social responsibility.
Oprah understands the need for a higher education and fully supports children in need. To further illustrate Oprah’s iconic power one can look at the legal quarrels Oprah has been involved in and understands her amazing power to influence the public. When mad cow disease was raising fears worldwide, Oprah was quoted on her show saying “just stopped me cold from eating another burger! ” (Tannen 196). Cattlemen in Texas alleged that the broadcast caused the cattle industry to lose millions of dollars in the beef future market. Oprah went to court and won the law suit.
Oprah is more than a talk show host; her iconic status has earned her the ability to affect millions of people’s opinions. Another example is when Oprah complained on her show that Frito Lay did not produce a ridged version of the baked fat free chips. Frito Lay quickly responded by creating an “Oprah-friendly” version of the ridged chips. Oprah obviously is very influential on her show, and her decisions deeply affect the public’s opinions. Oprah has made some of the greatest contributions of all time to society and earned herself iconic status.
Her media venues continue to be an influential part of our daily lives. Oprah has accomplished all the things she longed to do and proved that it is possible to have a dream and live up to it. In a recent interview with Larry King, Oprah promised to make her show more “celebratory about life, have more diversity in the show, and more actively involved in the industry” (King). Let’s hope Oprah holds true to this promise and continues in her pursuit to make the world a better place. Works Cited
Johnson, Marilyn. “Oprah Winfrey, the Color Purple. ” Life Magazine Sept, 1997: 44-47. Marilyn Johnson, a long time contributor to Life magazine and respected writer, reports on Oprah Winfrey and her connection, personal and professional, to literature. Her childhood and the books she read; the effect of books on her life; “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker and its influence on her career. This is not a full autobiography of Oprah’s life and her contribution and why she is an icon of popular culture.
It, however, contributes greatly with very specific details regarding Oprah’s childhood which further assist in considering why Oprah has made some of the greatest contributions to society. King, Larry. “Encore Presentation: Interview with Oprah Winfrey. ” CNN News 20 Dec, 2003. Larry King, with 45 years of experience in television broadcasting, for the first time, interview one on one with Oprah. The interview was very informative. It gives details into Oprah’s life, coming straight from Oprah. Her views on different aspect on society and the goals she hopes to accomplish from her show.
The interview points out some of Oprah’s strongest ability, and talks about her abnormal childhood; what she has done since then to overcome her horrible past. The interview gives a peek into Oprah’s life and proved most informative with comments from Oprah as a strong support. Pendergast, Tom. “People in the News. ” Encyclopedia of Popular Culture 2000 : 416-417. Tom Pendergast, a contributor/author of the Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, a long with his colleagues, reports on Oprah’s life, her great success, what she has gained and contributed to society.
The article was great but it only gives details on her awards and what she has done to obtain them rather than focusing on why she did those things and what impact do they have on society. Further more, with only two pages, the article did not do a very good job of even summarizing all the good deeds of Oprah leaving out some of the important information that I had to look for in other articles. Russell, Lisa, Dampier, Cindy. “Oprah Winfrey. ” People Magazine Mar, 1999 : 65-68.
Lisa Russell and Cindy Dampier, both great writers/contributors to People magazine, in their article “Oprah Winfrey,” did a wonderful job of profiling television talk show host Oprah Winfrey. The influential nature of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and devotions shown by fans of the television program demonstrate Oprah’s appealing iconic status. They gave great examples of motion pictures Winfrey has appeared in such as “The Color Purple” and plans Oprah has for the future including works on Oxygen Media, a cable television channel which is devoted to women’s issues.
All in all, the article proves most useful compare to all the other sources. It was short and informative rather than focusing on irrelevant information. It shows Oprah’s influential power and what she did with it to improve society. Tannen, Deborah. “Oprah Winfrey. ” Time Magazine 8 June, 1998: 196-198. Deborah Tanne, a respected writer for Time Magazine, reports on Oprah Winfrey as one of the top 100 most influential people of the century.
In her article, Deborah gave a mini bibliography of Oprah and a synopsis of her life contributions with much more details on why she did it and the impact it has one society, more specifically Oprah’s contributions to charity and children fund. Deborah’s article appeals to people of all ages; it showcases the great iconic features of Oprah and her generosity. There was not much flaw in this article except for Deborah’s decision not to include Oprah’s performances in The Color Purple and her book club. Those are two important contributions that Oprah has made that impacted society’s view on literature.