Revisiting my unit on poverty across cultures, I realize that I have made tremendous progress as a reader and a critical thinker on this topic. I have come to realize that poverty has been there since the creation of the world, as the ancient and historical records indicate. Society has had classes that define differences between the more affluent and the less affluent with opposing views of each other. There have been cases where the differences are pronounced to an extent of segregation, as witnessed in the societies like theUnited States of America, where races are considered in terms of economical superiority or inferiority. The case happened in South Africa with apartheid, and in other societies, like India, where there are social castes with different classes of economic empowerment. The class studies have different dimensions that can partly be explained by the historical perceptions and the apparent inheritance of the historically taught perceptions and social standings. This work extends the perceptions of poverty across cultures and quotes richly from Orwell’s writings about poverty, homelessness and the differences between the Orwell’s world then and the 21st century, where the virtue of being homeless has been projected further. In essence, poverty and homelessness are in the mind.
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I have learnt that poverty is the state in which a person’s mind puts limitations to its thinking and accepts the state on the ground. Poverty has many causes that can be attributed to laxity of authorities, like government, in the provision of quality of education, poor performing economy and poor leadership. Governments are blamed by the majority of the poor residents who see the laxity of the government as the cause of their sufferings. Feminization of poverty can be associated with high divorce rate that emanates from the changing roles in the society. Lack of resources can be a factor that connects poverty and the individuals’ mindsets. Such cases as overpopulation, disease epidemics like malaria & AIDS, problems emanating from environment like floods, drought and calamities worsen the situation, thus sustaining poverty. For instance, when a family lacks the resources to maintain its living they depend on others and are likely to be poor. There are many families that have no access to quality education and, due to this fact, they become sidelined when job opportunities are open for all people. The survival for the fittest can better be defined through scrabbling for the little available resources that make the stronger in the society achieve more, while the less fortunate become poorer.
It is also evident that poverty across the classes has made negative effects on the individuals and the society. Homelessness has been among the extreme effects of poverty, where families and children lack places to call their home. For instance, in Orwell’s narrations, homeless children and families used to sleep along the streets for a maximum of two days. The homeless also extend their search for freedom from hunger and discrimination to churches where they seek consoles. According to Orwell, the homeless crowd in churches to seek free tea and food from the mercies of the congregation. The poor people have no extra time to search for jobs to satisfy their desires, which leads to more sufferings and being the social rejects.
Thereare cases where organizations and social establishments, like churches, offer free food and care to the homeless and poor. However, there are other entities that oppose the works of charity to ensure the status of the poor remains the same. For instance, Orwell quotes that, “Of course, the owners of lodging-houses would be opposed and block to any improvement, for their present business is an immensely profitable one.” This shows that the society is a case for survival for the fittest, where the strong want to remain stronger and the poor, poorer.
One challenge has been to explain how poverty instills in the minds of the victims a force to react negatively. However, research has revealed that there are sociological disorders that can arise from poverty. They are rudeness, violence, theft, robbery, low self-esteem and a feeling of rejection among other feelings. The feeling that no one cares for the poor leads people to act rudely. For instance, the poor who go to church act rudely after seeing their worthlessness of not being able to provide for themselves. There are mental and emotional attachments on poverty where victims express their discourse on their fate and think of negative things to justify their state. For instance, Orwell states that “Paddy’s sickly, chap-fallen face yearned over the milk”. Then he turned saying gloomily, “Best leave it. It doesn’t do a man no good to steal. Thank God, I aint never stolen nothing yet,” This quote shows resignation to fate, as the victim thinks of the negative things to satisfy his bodily desires. Children facing poverty, in most cases, compromise with their morality which results in social crimes like stealing, applying cruelty and viewing the others as their enemies. The mental state of mind is the same in Orwell’s narration and in the 21st century, where the mind is affected and influenced by the poverty state.
In conclusion, the argument is significant since it explains a number of dimensions of poverty. In all the cases, it is the victims who count on the mercies of the rich and the affluent. The society also expects the poor to change their mindsets and, therefore, their living styles and conditions. Many people have thought that without church support, the power cannot exist. This case exists in the mind as dedication to work can provide more resource availability and create a channel for self-sustenance. Orwell quotes, “A destitute man, if he is not supported by the parish, can only get relief at the causal wards, and as each casual ward will only admit him for one night, he is automatically kept moving.” This justifies the fixed mentality about homeless and poor in the society. Thus, a condition that currently exists needs a change of thought and focus.
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