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Coping With Poverty. Essay

1251 words - 5 pages

COPING WITH POVERTY AND ITS CIRCUMSTANCESManawaka, Canada and Limerick, Ireland are on separate sides of the earth, however, when the Great Depression took place, both counties were equally affected. Angela's Ashes and Stone Angel are novels written in the era of The Great Depression, and involve characters reminiscing on their childhood and the desperate circumstances they encountered involving their poverty-stricken families. Angela's Ashes is a genuine memoir by Frank McCourt and is in the view of Frank, who is growing up in a poor lifestyle. Stone Angel is written by Margaret Lawrence and is in the view of Hagar, who is aging, and reflecting back on her life during the Great Depression. The Great Depression occurred in 1930 and resulted in rise in poverty. Since unemployment rose so drastically, families were left to bear with the little they did have. The husbands, in both novels were of no help to their families. The wives found desperate forms of income in order to help their children survive. The children are supportive, depending on their attitude towards their family. Individuals, even if they were part of the same family, reacted differently to situations involving poverty. They might have accomplished something to ease the situation, or worsen the situation.Husbands turn to alcohol when under pressure; lose form of income, and become isolated from their families. When Malachy McCourt does get a job, he brings some money home to his starving family, and loses the job quite quickly because of irregular attendance. "It's bad enough that Dad loses jobs in the third week but now he drinks all the dole money once in a month" (McCourt, 171), says Frank, explaining that his father spent the income the family did receive on alcohol. Unlike Malachy, Bram Shipley actually did not have a job--he tried to make his own forms of income. He sold crops grown on his farm, however these crops had a short life in the market place so he constantly ran out of this form. Next, he bought a horse hoping to breed it and earn money from races and competitions, however, the horse died shortly afterwards in a winter storm, shattering this hope also. Just like Malachy. Bram was an alcoholic and he would spend more of income on drink rather than food for his family. Another trait common in both men is that they were too proud to beg for food or sell items door to door and would allow for their wives to do so. On the other hand, they had the capability to beg for alcohol form others when they did not have the money to buy it for themselves. Because of the desperate situations being faced, Hagar leaves Bram, and Malachy leaves his family to find work in England for the war occurring. Turning to alcohol and not assisting the family's poor financial state results in Malachy and Bram becoming completely isolated from their families, and bringing humiliation to the family rather than money.The wives gain charge of the household by finding other, sometimes desperate forms...

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