Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade August 2001

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Essay on the "What is Poverty?"� by Jo Goodwin Parker.

What do you consider poverty to be? Do you have a definitive explanation of it or do you consider it an abstract circumstance? In the article "What is Poverty?"� Jo Goodwin Parker gives her definitions on what poverty is. In the beginning of the essay Parker asks reader a question:"� You ask me what is poverty? Listen to me. Here I am, dirty, smelly, and with no "proper"� underwear on and with the stench of my rotting teeth near you. I will tell you. Listen to me. Listen without pity. I cannot use your pity. Listen with understanding. Put yourself in my dirty, worn out, ill-fitting shoes, and hear me."� And we hear her, we hear a cry of her soul, and we try to understand all her miserable life. The description of her poverty is so vivid, so ugly that you almost feel how poverty touches you.

It's an attack on human emotion, which makes you reexamine your thoughts and beliefs on who the poor are.

Parker starts almost every paragraph with a new definition of what poverty is. Some examples are: "poverty is dirt"�,"� poverty is acid"�, and "poverty is looking into a black future"�.

Parker is capable of making you feel guilty for the possessions that you have. For example, she uses the phrase "You say in your clean clothes coming from your clean house, "Anybody can be clean."� This causes you to feel guilty for having the opportunity to be clean when you know that she doesn't have the same. She calls hot water a "luxury". To those living in poverty hot water is a luxury. You take it for granted and never before considered it anything other than a basic possession.