What is Poverty? by Jo Goodwin Parker

What is Poverty?

This essay titled ‘What is Poverty?’ was written by an anonymous person named Jo Goodwin Parker from West Virginia in the United States South. With the signature of Jo Goodwin Parker, this essay was mailed to George Henderson, a professor at the University of Oklahoma. This essay was later published with no further information about its author or source. The essay was published with the facts of a woman’s hardships as a result of poverty.

In this essay, we learn about the writer’s painful experiences in her life as a result of her poverty. She has described her miserable experiences ranging from childhood to adulthood, during which she has faced a variety of adversities.

She has discussed various aspects of poverty in this essay. She has provided a realistic and graphic account of what it is like to be poor on a daily basis. Poverty, she claims, is more heinous and cruel than depicted in the media.

Poverty, according to her, is a state of living without hope, better food, medical care, proper sanitation, and proper education. It’s like an acid that eats away at one’s pride, honour, health, and future. Parker’s main goal is to demonstrate how humiliating, and disgusting it is to be poor. She wishes to draw the attention of the readers to the plight of the poor. She wants her readers to understand poverty without feeling sorry for her.

Poor people live restless life, fearing for their children’s future. Poverty shatters relationships. Parker was the mother of three children. Because of their financial situation, her husband abandoned her. 

He didn’t have a steady job. Due to the burden of his family, he abandoned all of them without even saying goodbye. During that time, their condition deteriorated. They didn’t even have enough money to buy contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancies. She was employed. She was only making $22 per week at the time. 

She had anaemia as a result of her poor diet. The doctor advised her to have surgery, but she did not have the funds. She struggled alone to care for her children and faced a variety of difficulties during the cold and summer seasons days and nights.

She once left her children in the care of her mother. When she returned home, however, she discovered her children in a pitiful state. 

Her youngest son was covered in fly specks, and he hadn’t had his diaper changed since the morning. Her next child was playing with broken glasses, and her oldest son was alone at the lake’s edge. She didn’t have enough money to enrol them in a nursery school. 

She had to pay $20 per week for three children to be admitted. Her income, however, was only $22. She decided to leave her job in order to care for the children.

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