Saturday, May 8, 2021

NEB Grade XI Compulsory English Note | Literary Studies | Unit 3 | Lesson 4 What is Poverty? | Essay | Jo Goodwin Parker


NEB Grade XI Compulsory English Note | Literary Studies | Unit 3 | Lesson 4 What is Poverty? | Essay | Jo Goodwin Parker

What is Poverty?


The essay ‘What is Poverty?’ written by Jo Goodwin Parker. It is a realistic essay in which she gives a real account of what poverty actually means. She describes how painful it is to live amidst in poverty and her daily struggles to raise a family.

Parker stresses that poverty is uglier, crueler and more devastating than it is shown in newspapers. She defines poverty as a lack. It is living without hope, better foods, health care, proper sanitation and proper education. It is compared to an acid that destroys pride, honor, health and future. Her main idea is to show how humiliating and disgusting it is being poor. In the essay the evidence of her daily struggle is mentioned very clearly. She wants to draw the readers' attention to the pathetic condition of poor people. The poor are forced to live a restless life looking at the dark future of their children. Poverty ruins the family relationship.

After giving birth to the last baby the essayist divorced with her husband because he was jobless. Once the children were left under the care of their grandmother. She found her children in a miserable condition when she got back home. She was unable to admit her children at a nursery school because of her insufficient income. She made 20 dollars a week and a nursery school cost 20 dollars a week for three children. Therefore, she left her job.

Parker is successful in evoking sympathy from the readers. She makes the readers realize how depressing poverty is. She shows us that there is no hope for the poor without understanding them.

Understanding the text

Answer the following questions.

a. What is poverty according to Parker?

According to Parker, poverty is being dirty, smelly, and with no proper underwear on and with the stench of the rotting teeth.

b. How is poverty difficult for Parker’s children? List some specific examples.

- Once she left her children with their grandmother. She found her children in a miserable condition.

- For breakfast her children are fed grits with no oleo or cornbread without eggs and oleo.

- To buy a jar of Vaseline for the baby’s diaper rash the essayist had to save money for 2 months.

- In winter, children are in danger of being burnt as newspapers on the wall are likely to get caught by a spark, and in summer they are covered with when they cry.

- Children are always with runny noses.

- They have no extra books, no magazines, no extra pencils, or crayons, or paper and most important of all, they are not healthy.

c. How does Parker try to obtain help, and what problems does she encounter?

She asks her relative for a loan. She is supposed to visit the office. She circles the building four or five times. She goes in. Everyone is very busy. Finally, someone comes out and asks her if she needs help. That isn’t the person she needs to see. She goes to see another person. After telling him the whole story about her poverty she finds that this is the wrong office. Then, she must repeat the whole process.

d. Why are people’s opinions and prejudices her greatest obstacles?

She is stricken hard by poverty. She is unable to raise her family well. She divorced with her husband. She is ill- treated while asking for help. This makes her lose her pride and honor and ultimately shatters her dream.

e. How does Parker defend her inability to get help? How does she discount the usual solutions society has for poverty (e.g., welfare, education, and health clinics)?

According to Parker the usual solutions society has for poverty are far from her access. There is a surplus commodities program which cost too much. A school lunch program can’t benefit her children as her children whose health will be worsened by the time they go to school. Health clinics are in the towns. She lives out here eight miles from town. Everything has a cost.

for Class 11 Optional English Note

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