Shame by Dick Greogry

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Trey Swearingen

ENG 100

Instructor: Charley Duvaal

March 7, 2013 word count: 1643

Psychological Effects of Poverty

The psychological effects of poverty on children are embarrassment and public humiliations of dealing with poverty. Imagine going to school without breakfast, much sleep and clothes that may still be wet from the night before since they didn’t dry due to a lack of appropriate appliances. Many people face these hardships everyday and they learn to cope with them in the best way they can. In the short story “Shame" by Dick Gregory, he writes about him life and how he went through those same things as a kid growing up in poverty. He clearly shows that poverty brings much privation as well as a great deal of shame. However, there are still ways to gain pride and happiness. This story shows that by emulating somebody you respect, even a very poor person can derive pride from small actions, which the average person sees as insignificant. They have to deal with being put in a stereotype for “poor” or “lower income” people. The psychological effects of poverty on children are the lowering of self-esteem, being isolated, and becoming determined.

So what is it exactly that creates a rift between children from low income homes and those living above the poverty line? For one, these children lack the stability that comes with a higher income home. This means not having the things that other children have, from adequate nutrition to weather appropriate clothing. In addition, less income generally means there are fewer opportunities for activities and learning experiences. Gregory tells of his shame of living in poverty, and having only one set of clothes and a jacket that welfare gave to all the poor children. Gregory writes, “There was shame in wearing the brown and orange and white plaid mackinaw the...
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