Poverty: Emotion and Readers Experience Guilt

Topics: Emotion, Empathy, The Reader Pages: 2 (522 words) Published: April 23, 2013
When George Henderson began working on his book, America’s Other Children: Public Schools outside Suburbia, in 1971 he received a strange essay in the mail. The essay had been mailed from West Virginia and was signed Jo Goodwin Parker. The source of the essay was unknown and no information about the essay ever came up. No one knows if Jo Goodwin Parker was actually a woman describing her and her children’s experience while living in poverty. Some believe she was a sympathetic writer who wanted the rest of the world to realize what poverty is really like. In the beginning of “What is Poverty” Jo Goodwin Parker first asks the reader to listen to her story of what poverty is like. Parker then talks about the different aspects of what poverty is and what parts make it a dangerous reality. She discusses the horrible health conditions that her and her children had to go through. She then explains how the Government only gives her a small amount of money each month which is why she can not afford to buy things like healthy food or soap. Parker also describes how the outside world offers little help and she is even criticized for not doing something about being in poverty. She then explains that after a while doing something to get help becomes harder and harder. Jo Goodwin Parker then asks the reader to open their eyes and even asks the reader after seeing poverty, if they can be silent too.

In the article “What is Poverty?,” Jo Goodwin Parker uses a clear, coherent structure to emphasize her main point. Parker’s essay serves as an attack on human emotion. While using connotative language, Parker illustrates her life experiences in order to connect to the reader. Parker’s experiences in a life of poverty create harsh imagery for readers, which causes the reader to feel many emotions. This enables the reader to examine his or her thoughts and beliefs about the poor and diminish stereotypes. Of the many emotions, readers often feel a strong sense of guilt....
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