Elements of the Argument: "What Is Poverty?"

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Elements of the Argument: "What is Poverty?"

Steve Ross Expository Writing Dr. Nancy Nester Final 10/25/96

What do you consider poverty to be? Do you have a definitive explanation of it or do you consider it an abstract circumstance? In the article "What is Poverty?", Jo Goodwin Parker gives her ideas on what poverty is. First given as a speech, this article is written as an attack on human emotion. Her use of connotative language creates many harsh images of her experiences in a life of poverty. By using these images, Parker is capable of causing the reader to feel many emotions and forces the reader to question his or her own stereotypes of the poor. With the use of connotative language and the ability to arouse emotion, Parker successfully compels the reader to examine his or her thoughts and beliefs on who the poor are.

Parker's use of connotative language causes the reader to feel many emotions. Of these emotions, a prominent one is guilt. Parker is capable of making the reader feel guilty for the possessions that he or she has. For example, she uses the phrase "You say in your clean clothes coming from your clean house, ..."(Parker 237). This causes the reader to feel guilty for having the opportunity to be clean when we all know that she doesn't have the same. She calls hot water a "luxury"(Parker 237). To those living in poverty hot water is a luxury. The unimpoverished take it for granted and never before considered it anything other than a basic possession. When the reader hears that someone else calls it a luxury that they cannot afford, he or she can't help but feel guilty for having it as a basic possession. Parker also attacks the guilt of the reader through stories of her children. She knows that some readers may not feel guilty for things that happen to her, but when children are introduced to the situation they will feel more guilt. She says, "My children have no extra books, no magazines, no extra pencils, or crayons, or...
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