In this chapter of David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric, Fleming exposes the negative environmental underbelly of the American ideal that every man is responsible for the level of success they achieve in their lifetime. Fleming counters this in a way, noting the environmental advantages and disadvantages of those raised in drastically different environments. Fleming uses low and high income neighborhoods to further his claim. In this segment of the chapter, Fleming adds another layer to the idealistic idea of pure self-sufficiency equating to success. Fleming eludes to the fact that while the individual does act in accordance to their own free will, they are caged by their environment immensely, which limits many.
Fleming also addresses the separation between the person and their environment and how this separation has become further defined in the last few years. Fleming Supports stratification with, “We have therefore learned to treat our ties to the physical world as superficial” (185). In this, Fleming describes the weakened ties between one and their environment and how these weakened ties affect the behavior of an individual. Fleming goes on further this theory regarding behavioral pattern and environment, stating that behaviors no longer hinge on environments for many, and that the actions of an individual in many cases would not differ based on the “background” of their environment.