The objective definition of class is the association amid a personand the sources of authority in society (Ore 13). Modern life is aclass society because a few individuals have far more political aswell as economic authority than majority. The majority work for thepowerful minorities who control society as well as decisions made.This implies that class has its foundation on oppressing andexploiting, as some manipulate others labor for personal gain. Classis what differentiates people in society, and it applies whenreferring to the wealthy and poor. Those that are from a high socialclass are wealthy while a low social class signifies poverty. Inshort, class is something that society has constructed.
What is Poverty, Flavio’s Home, Pressingon the Upward Way, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Girl,are perfect illustrations of how society constructs class, whichdifferentiates between the wealthy and the poor. The main comparisonbetween the readings and films is that they express their resent topoverty because of the suffering it inflicts on victims. Thenarratives depict the challenges of poverty. In addition is howpeople from a low social class, those that are not of the workingclass, are unable to lead a painless life. It is largely ademonstration social construction of inequality.
In What is Poverty? Jo Goodwin Parker starts the story byasking the readers to listen and understand her life instead ofpities her. She expects the audience to position themselves in herpoverty-stricken conditions and see how society has succeeded inconstructing a class where no one cares about the poor, those thatare not working class. Parker describes a life filled with filth andsickness, living a place that smells of urine, food that is spoilingand children that smell. It is not possible for Parker to workbecause she cannot afford to pay for her children’s nursery. Inaddition, the last time she went to work, she returned to find one ofher children covered in flyspecks, the other playing with glass andanother playing at the lake’s edge. It is obvious that nobodydesires such a life. The images alter society’s view on individualsthat are unable to get employment. Parker demonstrates poverty assomething that causes embarrassment yet is inevitable.
Flavio’s Home refers to poverty as the greatest savage ofbeing sufferings, and likens it to cancer. Considering that cancerhas no cure, the same applies to poverty, which makes it impossiblefor persons living in poverty to lead better lives. Gordon Parksrecalls the view of the character Flavio, thin with legs resemblingsticks and with no clothes except dirty shorts. His image was arepresentation of death. The description compels the reader toenvision a poor child residing in a place where there is nothing toensure survival. The circumstances are worsened by the boy having toprovide food to the parents and siblings. The story informs thatalthough most individuals are aware of poverty, they may not haveexperienced it firsthand. Parker compares Flavio’s poverty with therich. This apparent via a scene where rich guests are in a hotel andhave uncalled for luxuries. Society is unaware of what starvation is,nor living in intolerable conditions. It is through the essay thatsociety is capable of viewing a different life.
Pressing on the Upward Way narrates how people live in one ofthe nation’s most poverty stricken counties. The narrativehighlights the plight of Sue, who recently lost her job, which is theonly job she could manage (Potts 1). The situation has forced her togo back to college. However, she is unable to fit in college due tothe age difference with other students straight from high school.Similar to families from Owsley County, the Christians live belowpoverty levels, and Sue supposes that by advancing her education shewill be able to earn higher. Sue’s case is a representation of thelife of people in Owsley County, a population that largely strugglesto survive because they are not able to find work (Potts 1). Somefamilies in the region rely on aid, while others do not. Somefamilies are able to provide proper schooling, food and clothing fortheir children, yet for others it is not possible. The story makessociety conscious of societies that struggle to survive, people thatare willing to work, but cannot get employment.
The movie Beasts of the Southern Wild is set during theKatrina disaster. It is set at an imaginary bayou territory, whichmakes the film odd and presents the main issue of poverty. This ismade apparent through the character Wink that stays in a fallingshack together with Hushpuppy, a daughter aged six. The charactersare black and live in a mixed society, comprising of blacks andwhites (Bradshaw 1). What the films aims to illustrate is that whenpeople are poor issues like racial differentiation become irrelevant.This is because in modern life, class is more important. The focus ison how wealthy or poor a society is. The intention is not to make theviewers sympathize with the problems the characters face, rather aimsat introducing a society that has never known such suffering to tryto experience the same.
In Girl, we learn about a mother that is trying to advise herdaughter. The mother informs the daughter that as a woman she needsto learn how to perform household duties. These include cooking andcleaning among others. The advice from the mother results in theconclusion that she lives in a marginalized rural residence, andtalking about such issues with children is important for dailyliving. The mother progresses to inform the Girl how she couldlead a life that is fulfilling. It is obvious that the mother hasstruggled and most of her life has been that of poverty, which sheanticipates not to happen to her daughter.
The stories present the reality that poor people face hardships andhave to endure life situations that are intolerable. They inviteaudiences to imagine a society where people lack food, education, areunemployed and even clothing. This is class within society that hasbeen neglected and left to suffer on their own making death the mereescape. It improbable for anyone to rise above class because thoughpeople may make the efforts to, life does not favor the efforts. Anillustration is Sue, who manages to get her degree at an old age, butstill has no job during her graduation day. Flavio whom there is nohope that he will be cured. The stories, in their depiction of classdifferences and poverty, present situations that are difficult totranscend.
Bradshaw, Peter. Beasts of the southern wild – review. TheGuardian, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.<http://www.theguardian.com/film/2012/oct/18/beast-southern-wild-review>
Ore, Tracy E. TheSocial Construction of Difference and Inequality: Race, Class,Gender, and Sexuality.Dubuque: McGraw-Hill,2011. Print.
Potts, Monica. Pressing on the Upward Way. The American Prospect,6.23(12 Jun. 2012) Web. 19 Apr. 2015.<https://prospect.org/article/pressing-upward-way>