The struggles that many face while experiencing poverty are not like any other. When a person is experiencing poverty, they deal with unbearable hardships as well as numerous tragic events. Diane Gilliam Fisher’s collection of poems teaches readers about labor battles within West Virginian territories, at the beginning of the twentieth century. Some of these battles include the Battle of Matewan and Battle of Blair Mountain. The collection of poems is presented in many different manners, ranging from diary entries to letters to journal entries. These various structures of writing introduce the reader to contrasting images and concepts in an artistic fashion. The reader is able to witness firsthand the hardships and the light and dark times of impoverished people’s lives. He or she also learns about the effects of birth and death on poverty stricken communities. In the collection of poems in Kettle Bottom, Fisher uses imagery and concepts to convey contrast between the positive and negative aspects of the lives of people living in poverty.
Imagery of light is used in Fisher’s collection of poems to symbolize positive facets of a life lived in poverty. People living in poverty are not given all the basic necessities required to live comfortably. Many impoverished persons are malnourished due to lack of resources such as sufficient food or appropriate clothing. The lack of living essentials and the inability to afford everything that they desire provides people living in poverty with a greater appreciation for small acts of kindness. Many of the poems in Fishers collection show aspects of the poor being grateful for the little things in life. One of the poems shows a little girl being extremely appreciative of something every child deserves to have when winter comes, a warm coat. This poem, “Dear Diary”, is about a little girl who is so grateful for receiving a new blue coat that she refuses to part with. She is so delighted by the coat that she writes about the experience.
“They lit into the box and begin to Praise Jesus and clap for it was all coats. They lit into the box and begin to parcel them out holding them up by the shoulder, seeing what fit who. I just set quiet, but I seen a blue coat in the pile, so pretty-so blue and soft-looking with a black velvet collar, jet buttons like little barrels, and shinny black loops. I didn’t say nothing, for it is wrong to covet, but Granny Chapman, she seen me looking and she said to Mama, Well, I do believe that little blue coat looks made for Edith Mae” (Fisher 11).
While Edith Mae does long for the coat, she does not want to seem like an annoyance for asking for it, especially since she understands that if her parents were more economically stable they would have bought her one already. To her surprise, she is fortunate enough to receive the coat and she loves it more than anything. She is overjoyed to show her father how it looks on her once he returns home. Later on when everyone is...