What is Poverty? | Essay | Summary

The essay “What is Poverty?” is written by Jo Goodwin Parker, an American writer. She mailed her essay to George Henderson, preferring that the editor present no Egline. George Henderson received it when he was writing his 1971, Lost America`s other Children, the public school`s outside suburbia. She explained her experienced of rural poverty in this essay.

What is Poverty? Jo Goodwin Parker

In this essay, she has described her life, living in poverty, and her daily struggles for the sake of her family. She has personally experienced rural poverty and also explains her story from childhood to adulthood using examples drawn from her personal experience. She explains the meaning of poverty in this essay. According to her, Poverty has many faces. Poverty is living with dirt, living without hope, better foodstuff, medical care, proper sanitation, and proper education. It is like the acid that destroys pride, honor, health, and the future.

She described herself as dirty and smelly and did not wear proper clothes. She also says that due to the high cost of essential things, there is no luxuries in her life. Parker could not even get any help and support from the government agencies because it is not around in her area. Due to the lack of transportation facilities in her area, She does not get help and support from any agencies. Even Her job doesn’t pay as enough as required for her childcare too. So parker says that living in poverty is just like looking into a black future because running life on a daily basis itself is a great challenge. Under such circumstances, no one can expect a bright future.  

Parker does not want sympathy but she wants an understanding of her readers about poverty. Because of poverty, she left school at a very early age and got married. She became pregnant many times because birth control was expensive for her. Even her husband left her because of poverty. Her financial status was too poor so health does not come as a priority and could not do her operation in time. He gave his children breakfast cornbread without butter and oil. She did not even buy soap in order to buy her baby diapers. When she doesn’t get help to overcome such a problem then she felt shame and humiliation for the sake of her three children. She said that the present world is the world of selfishness because she had spread her hands in different places but did not get help from anyone.

                                               In conclusion, the writer hopelessly defines poverty in many ways i.e. poverty is a lack of the basic requirements of life, poverty is living in dirt, being tired, and looking for help, and humiliating. Poverty is not being able to provide education and other opportunities. Therefore, at last, she finally says that poverty is like an acid that drips on our pride until pride is worn away.

What is Poverty? Question Answer (Exercise)

Understanding the text:

What is poverty according to parker?

According to parker, poverty is being dirt, smelly living life without proper clothes and education.

How is poverty difficult for parker`s children? List some specific examples.

Poverty is difficult for parker`s children due to;
Children are always suffering from a lack of proper clothes.
Children are far from proper education facilities.
For breakfast, her children were fed cornbread without oil and egg.

How does parker try to obtain help and what problem does she encounter?

Parker tries to obtain help by asking her relative for a loan and wants to visit the government agencies but no one helps her. Everyone is very busy. Finally, one person suggests her to visit the big government agencies rather than visiting the small one for help. There is more chance to get help from such agencies.

Why are people’s opinions and prejudices her great obstacles?

People`s opinions and prejudices are her greatest obstacles because these aspects prevent her from getting help from others for his family. Most of the people don`t realize her painful experience of poverty and they keep on giving prejudices against poor people. In the case of parker people`s opinions and prejudices prevent her from help for sake of her family.

How does parker defend her inability to get help? How does she discount the usual solution society has for poverty. (E.g. welfare, education, and health)?

Parker defends her inability to get help by her opinions related to the poverty that she experienced. She discounts the usual solutions society has for poverty by telling her experience related to health clinics, welfare, and education. she asks many times for help in many agencies but she has face shame all time. She didn`t get help from anyone as a result, her family is quite away from education and health facilities.

References to the text.

Explain the following:

Poverty is looking into a blacks’ future.

The one “poverty is looking into a black future” has been stated by parker in her essay. She puts this statement from her experienced related to poverty. This statement created a sense of an ugly and cruel aspect of poverty. Poverty leads people towards a black future because poverty keeps the people quiet away from different facilities like health, education, food, proper clothes, and some additional facilities.

What does parker mean by “the poor are always silent”?

“The poor are always silent”, parker means that poor people suffered from many problems and no one helps them, which makes poor people silent in front of others.

What writing strategy does the author use at the beginning of most of the paragraphs? Do you notice a recurring pattern? What is it?

In this essay, the writer used her repetition strategy at beginning of the most of paragraph. Yes, I notice a recurring pattern and it is the structure “Poverty is”. In this essay with the help of her repetition strategy, she tries to establish a relationship between women and readers to understand the casual conversation.

How does parker develop each paragraph ? what details make each paragraph memorable?

Parker develops each paragraph starting with the repetition strategy. She uses repetition strategy in most of the paragraphs and that is “poverty is”. And she explains her experience related to poverty. The author explains to her readers for understanding the bitter pain of poverty and also aware the readers to help the needy people, these concepts make each paragraph memorable.

In the final paragraph, how does the author use questions to involve the reader in the issue of poverty?

In the final paragraph, the author uses questions in her informal style of direct conversation to involve the readers in the issue of poverty. Parker has done a job at involving her readers through her persuasive manner. This manner of question has attracted readers’ emotions as well as attention. In the final paragraph, She has become successful to attract her reader’s attention towards the painful struggle situation of her life.

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