The Effect of Poverty in the "Shame"

Essay by JiannnaHigh School, 11th grade August 2006

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In the story "Shame", Dick Gregory relates an early lesson learned in school in the nature of hatred and shame. His fantasies of an ideal home life and future are publicly dash and ridiculed. His anger at this expense prevents him from helping another human being, the story's most valuable lesson. Poverty brings Richard, the actor in "shame", a lot of troubles, including the lack of clothes, food, and bad living conditions.

Firstly, poor Richard had a set of clothes only. In the article, the author mentioned that in order to give a good impression to his "love", Helene Tucker, Richard "washed my socks and shirt every night"(Gregory, 457) "because they were the only clothes I had."(Gregory, 457) Moreover, Richard felt very bad about how poor what his description is "pregnant" means sick. Also he "pregnant with shoes that were never bought for me," (Gregory, 458) which means he had never gotten a new clothes or a pair of shoes.

Hence, poverty made Richard didn't have enough clothes.

Secondly, because of his poverty, Richard felt hungry all the day. The author gave us a lot of hints in his hungry. He "could not concentrate because you did not had any breakfast." (Gregory, 458) He was so hungry that he had to "sneak into the cloakroom and steal a bit of some kid's lunch out of a coat pocket." (Gregory, 458) He was hunting for anything could eat, even "paste" (Gregory, 458). Because of his hunger, Richard also had to ask for food from the relief truck. Therefore, lack of food is another effect of poverty.

Lastly, the other significant effect of poverty is poor living conditions. Richard lived in a house without water and the pipes were frozen frequently. So he had to use melted ice to wash his clothes.