Charles Cunningham, in ““to Watch the Faces of the Poor”:

Topics: Great Depression, Poverty, Performance Pages: 2 (484 words) Published: September 15, 2008
Charles Cunningham, in ““To Watch the Faces of the Poor”: Life Magazine and the Mythology of Rural Poverty in the Great Depression (1999),” details how Life magazine describes the agrarian poverty in 1930’s due to Great depression, ridiculing the poor of whites by showing photographs without enough explanation of this poverty. Exclusion of explaining the cause of poverty in agriculture possibly leads to these “White poor” as “worthy” poor, who are not inherently inferior, but are victims of nature and geography. Tom Delph-Janiurek, in his article of “Sounding Gender(ed): Vocal Performances in English University Teaching Spaces,” states that gendered voices are performed through repeated stylization of bodies, having connection with gendered and sexualized identities. Also, he argues that voice have a geography shaped by how discourses change across different types of space. Both these authors discuss how pre-held notions construct the distorted bias of poverty in race and gendered voices respectively.

According to Cunningham, by showing many pictures of poor white in U.S. rural regions such as Oklahoma, Montana, Arkansas, and Dakota, Life magazine effectively aroused sympathy from readers of Life magazine who subsequently thought their poor condition was mainly attributable to misfortune. This limited a reasonable explanation of poverty of “worthy poor.” The readers of this magazine only saw the pictures of untidiness, biological unfitness, and sloth of the poor white, so only consider that they were handicapped sufferer by geographical conditions. The direct factor of this economic crisis, capitalism itself, was never involved or even considered as the cause of the poor condition in Life magazine. Thus, the readers of Life did not expand themselves as unworthy to be poor, and think of becoming destitute as a result of economic crisis. In Delph-Janiurek’s discussion of voices, although gendered dualism of voices seems obvious having distinctive characteristics...
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