“What is Poverty?”
a. How would you define the author’s purpose? Besides paragraph 15, in what parts of the essay is that purpose most apparent? I would define the author’s purpose is to express the life of a poor person and the views of others towards a poor individual. Besides paragraph 15, Parker’s purpose is most apparent in paragraph two and paragraph six.
b. Why does the speaker address her audience directly, especially in paragraphs 4 and 10? How would you describe that audience?
c. What is the speaker’s attitude toward her estranged husband? Do you find it curious? What does it tell you about her? What does it tell you about Parker’s purpose?
d. In paragraph 8, the speaker seems to describe a cycle of poverty into which the poor are born and in which they remain. Explain. In what other sections of the essay does she allude to this cycle? She describes the steps in which her lifestyle turned and she fell in to poverty. in paragraph 10 she continues to allude the cycle of poverty because she explains that her kids will have the same life style as she did.
e. How does she account for her inability to keep her family clean? Why is it futile for her to seek a job?
f. What is the distinction between “hunger” and “malnutrition” that she makes in paragraph 11? Why does she deny the usefulness of school lunch program? In paragraph eleven she states that “hunger” is when a person does not have anything to eat; and, “malnutrition” is when a person does not eat healthy food. She denies the usefulness of school lunch programs because her children do not have the necessities a child needs to enroll in school.
Strategy and Style
g. The speaker relates incidents in which she has had to endure both public and private humiliation in order to obtain help for her family. What is the source of such humiliation? How does Parker’s inclusion of these incidents help her define “poverty”?