English 101 TuTh 9:30
28 April 2016
Summary of “What is Poverty?” by Jo Goodwin Parker In Jo Goodwin Parker’s piece, “What is Poverty?,” she shares her life as an impoverished mother of three. She paints vivid details of the harsh realities experienced in a life of poverty. By describing such authentic unpleasantries, she compels the reader to reevaluate his or her own stereotypes of the poor. With the use of striking language and the ability to arouse emotion, Parker successfully pushes the reader past sympathy towards action.
Parker seems to write her piece as response to the stigma placed upon her as a poor woman, calling on the privileged to recognize her struggle. This is evident as she begins her piece with a the …show more content…
Her use of concrete images to portray the abstract idea of poverty causes the reader to personally identify with the issue. When she explains “poverty is staying up all night on cold nights to watch the fire, knowing one spark on the newspapers covering the walls means your sleeping child dies in flames,” the horrific image of a child burning alive due to unsuitable housing adds to the reader’s understanding of this abstract idea of poverty. Parker describes many more struggles such as makeshift diapers, runny noses and lack of money for worm medicine to paint a picture of poverty in the reader’s mind. Her voice is so strong, the reader can almost smell poverty through phrases that describe the “stench of rotting teeth,” “urine,” and “sour milk,” or almost feel poverty through hands that are “so cracked and red,” because the author cannot afford the two extra cents for Vaseline. With this use of imagery, the audience becomes more conscious of the effects of poverty. However, she continues to clarify every falsity with the purpose to defend herself against all accusations. She describes how humiliating it is to ask for money, why she can’t work, and how the poor always act