Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Invisible Effects of Poverty

Being poor comes with all kinds of effects - visible and invisible. "Visible" effects would be lacking extravagant material items that if you are just trying to get by, you would not have. What's less obvious to people on the outside looking in are the invisible effects of being poor. What I believe to be one of the invisible effects of being poor is the loss of identity.

In Barbara Ehrenreich's book, Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich goes undercover, in a way, to experience trying to get by on jobs that are deemed "unskilled." Ehrenreich, taking an inventory of all her "stuff", states that she has, "a tote bag stuffed with books which will, along with the hiking boots ... turn out to be the most useless items in [Ehrenreich's] inventory," (53). Essentially Ehrenreich doesn't have time to do things outside of work. She goes to work, comes home exhausted, and then repeats the next day.

Another invisible effect is strain on relationships. A woman in Ehrenreich's book, Holly, experienced this. Holly comes to work one day clearly not feelings well and visibly upset6. When Ehrenreich tries to help and send her home, Holly explains that she, "had a big fight with [her] husband. [She] didn't want to come to work this morning but he said I had to" (97). Clearly Holly's relationship is being tested by the lack of money in the household.

Overall having money troubles has many invisible effects on a person and his/her family.

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