Jo Goodwin Parker. What Is Poverty?

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Taleen Amirchiyan
Professor Donald B. Hawkins
English 090
December 6, 2010

What is Poverty?
Jo Goodwin Parker’s essay, “What is Poverty?” is about Parker who has personally experienced rural poverty. She explains her story from childhood to adulthood. Parker’s struggles are overwhelming; look at any sentence, the evidence of her daily struggle is there. From her underwear to living arrangements, and everything in between, Parker resides in poverty. In her essay, she says to listen to the story of what poverty is. Then she talks about the different aspects of poverty. Parker talks about the lack of health conditions she and her three children suffer from. She decides to be a mother even though she has no ability to provide for them. She talks about the government only giving her a small amount of money per month. That is why she cannot afford nutritional foods and soap to clean her kids. She thinks that the outside world will not help and even criticize her for not doing something. After reading Jo Goodwin Parker’s essay, I did not feel pity but instead I felt respect. She was in an unfortunate situation that forced her into a life not easy to live or deal with. But, with three children to care for, plus herself, she continued on with her life no matter what obstacles kept jumping in her path. I had an idea of what poverty was but after reading Parker’s essay, the ideas I had are shattered into a new realization of the true meaning of poverty. Her definition provides vivid images of what poverty truly means. Parker uses an angry tone, imagery, and repetition to inform readers the dehumanizing effects of poverty. She explains poverty in an angry tone so readers can understand the true meaning of being poor. Parker is capable of causing the reader to feel many emotions, mainly guilt. She makes the reader feel guilty for the possessions we may have. “You say in your clean clothes coming from your clean house, anybody can be clean” (Parker 168). This...
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