Define What You think Poverty is? Assignment | Define Poverty

Social Criticism and Writing

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Social Criticism and Writing  As you will see in this course, writers often create their texts in order to motivate readers to reflect on some realities that exist within society. In other words, there are often strong parallels between the text and world outside of it…what is called the social context.  The social context is not always a crisis enveloping the masses…such as a war, famine, or economic disaster.  In fact, social criticism literature is often more about studying or examining issues and explaining to understand the commonly held attitudes and belief systems people have towards issues like gender, race, class, , culture, politics, economics, religion, science and technology.

We are going to read Christy Osborn’s short story entitled “Never Enough” which examines the stigmas that associated with being poor in our society.  The narrator, Samantha, describes a commonplace event in her life but leaves an extraordinary impact on the reader.

Link to story: (Links to an external site.)

* After reading “Never Enough”, please listen to the following interview with Krista Loughton as she discusses her documentary film entitled Us and Them…a documentary that examines the stereotypes and misconceptions that many people have about those who are homeless. Be sure to complete the corresponding Discussion Board prompt.

US and THEM: CBC On the Island Interview (Links to an external site.)


Your job as a Social Critic is to find connections between the text and the world outside. This may mean connecting the reading to your own life, the happenings in the community,  current events, trends, politics and common attitudes. You may also see connections between the text and other writings on the same topic.  You may actually consider doing outside research about the topic being presented by the text. Below is an example. After reading “Never Enough”, I did additional research and thought it might be worth sharing:

Gibbs' reflective cycle in nursing

As of 2016, approximately 44,000 people in Los Angeles are homeless. In the past two years, some statistics show that the number of homeless in L.A. and Orange Counties is dramatically increasing. One statistic states that the number of people living in their vehicles has doubled within the last two years. However, the definition of homelessness varies depending on who you are speaking with.  In any case, we all see many men and women live in tents, in their cars, in trailers, or in other makeshift shelters all over the city.  The ages and ethnic backgrounds vary greatly. Many are young able-bodied intelligent men and women who seemed to have made a wrong turn in the road. A high percentage actually has jobs, but just can’t afford to pay rent or buy a house. So it’s not like they’re unemployed and just waiting for a handout, it’s a matter of not making enough money to make ends meet.  



There isn’t one definition of poverty.  It is a complex term. The following short animated video addresses these  question: What is poverty? What causes poverty? Does how we define poverty affect how we tackle it? What part do you play in reducing poverty? (Links to an external site.)


We are going to read Jo Goodwin Parker’s essay entitled “What is Poverty” which explores surprising definitions of the term “povery”. You can read the essay by clicking the following link. (Links to an external site.)


You can access another video that may help you define poverty thru the following link where a homeless man living in Los Angeles tells part of his story.

Los Angeles Homeless Man Shares the Harsh Reality of Skid Row (Links to an external site.)


The Final Text

The last text we will read for this module is an essay from our text entitled “A Tax System Stacked against the 99 Percent” by Joseph E. Stiglitz on p. 140.


Hi Everyone. Mac McClelland also writes about social issues. Below is a link to an essay about working in a warehouse and being a “wage slave” and also check out the interview with him about the essay and related themes. Here are the links: (Links to an external site.) 



hi Everyone. I hope you are enjoying the Social Criticism module. Speaking of that, our first essay is due in a few days.  Please be sure to review the prompt under the Assignments button.   I also enjoyed listening to the following interview with Barbara Ehrenreich, a writer who frequently writes about issues related to the topic of Poverty. Check it out!


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