David K. Shipler's The Working Poor

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I define poverty as when a person is struggling to meet their basic needs, are having trouble paying bills and are in debt. Growing up in India, I have seen a lot of people in poverty. When I was a child, my family was having trouble making enough money. For my family, it was hard to stay economically stable with the increasing prices in the market. My dad worked many jobs and his hard work payed off because he was given a chance to come to America. Now in India, in our neighbour, we are known as a rich family. In the book, The Working Poor, David K. Shipler argues that the working individuals in this book are neither helpless or powerful. Each one’s story is very unique, and they stand on different spectrums of the myth. The American Myth…show more content…
The story of Peaches best describes this. When Peaches a child, she didn’t know who her parents were, and the people who adopted her died, so a foster family took her in. In order to support her foster family, she worked her summers at a factory peeling tomatoes for only ten cents per bucket. Peaches said “ I got scars all up my arm… Didn’t press the collars right, I got burned, because I didn’t do it right.’ ”(Shipler 151) Shipler describes the scars as twisted shapes of burnished metal. Peaches continued to meet one wrong man after another. Her impoverished childhood caused Peaches to prostitute herself. Her dreams had been broken and her fear grew. Peaches lived without shelter and food, but everything changed after her employment training. It was hard for Peaches to grow out of poverty, but she worked very hard and reached her goals. However, this is not the case for many people; (Shipler…show more content…
Caroline Payne, had an addiction. Brenda, Caroline’s case worker said “ ‘She’s a heavy smoker; her clothes smell smoky at times.’ ”(Shipler 53) Even though Caroline had a difficult time supporting herself and her daughter, Amber, she continued to smoke. Caroline’s smoking problem caused her teeth to be decayed and abscessed. Her addiction was a contributing factor to losing her teeth, which made it hard for her to have a full smile. She continued to lose one job after another. Her employers replaced her with someone with a good smile, filled with teeth. For Caroline, it was hard to quit smoking, which led to her downfall.(Shipler 51-60) Tom King also had an addiction. He was an alcoholic. Shipler stated “ Tom liked Jack Daniel’s, even a shot or two for breakfast with his coffee.” (Shipler 176) I don’t know of any person that drinks for breakfast. Kara, Tom’s wife, got him to stop

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