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The Impact of Poverty on Children in America Essay

The U.S. is among the richest countries in the world today, yet millions of people still live below the poverty level. The number of American children living in poverty is increasing day by day. “Poverty in America has become a great menace to children’s wellbeing as it affects them emotionally, socially, and even in their school performance (Wood 720)”. Poverty in America is mainly caused by lack of jobs and minimum wage. Moreover, the rise in the cost of living can be said to also cause poverty in the US. Indigence exists in America despite the fact that it is among the richest nations in the world and The Glass Castle illustrates a family that lived in poverty in the US. The Glass Castle is written by Jeannette Walls who writes a memoir about her poverty stricken life and that of her siblings. She recounts how they were nurtured in a dysfunctional family. The Glass Castle describes the problems and challenges of children living in impoverishment in America. Jeannette narrates her struggle in destitution as a child and as an adult, but in the end, she manages to be a successful person.

Children living in poverty are most affected in the United States. “Most children from low-income families experience hunger problems because their parents cannot afford to feed them at times (Dahl Gordon and Lochner 1930).” The lack of food in the family made Jeannette steal some food from her classmates. She says, “During recess at school, I’d slip back into the classroom and find something in some other kid’s lunch bag that wouldn’t be missed-a package of crackers, an apple-and I’d gulp it down so quickly I could barely be able to taste it (Walls 68).” Jeannette and her siblings had to survive anyway, despite their situation. They had to learn to beg, borrow or steal, because they had parents who were unconcerned about their hunger.

In The Glass Castle, the Walls faced a number of problems because they came from a low-income family of parents with a minimum wage. When Jeannette’s father left his job, they faced a lot of hardship since there was no income. They lacked food until they could argue and fight about who ate the last edible thing in their house. Jeannette says “We kids usually kept our hunger to ourselves, but we were always thinking of food and how to get our hands on it (Walls 69).” Jeannette and her siblings lived in misery, until Rose Mary and Rex moved out to go live in Arizona with Rose Mary’s mother. Even though life changed for sometime, they still went back to a poor life after their father lost his job again. Jeannette’s family is an example of a poverty stricken family in America. The children were forced to move from one city to another, one home to the other, and from one school to the other because of insufficiency. “Poverty in America affects the children’s development because of lack of basic needs, especially food (Wood 736).” The children in The Glass Castle lived a life full of indigence, but they were forced to overcome the challenges in their on ways.

In The Glass Castle, the children were able to respond in a positive way to their situation and worked hard to get out of indigence. However, “in most poverty stricken families in America, most of these children drop out of school because they cannot take it anymore (Brooks-Gunn and Duncan 60).” In addition, most of them even end up becoming street children. Furthermore, some of them bond with gangs from the streets and are introduced to drugs, which later on turn them into criminals. A good example from the story is Maureen. She was defiant and only found solace in drugs and running away from home and she ended up in a mental hospital. The author writes “she is an alcoholic, a chain smoker, and an introvert and she lives like an alien in the family (Walls 33),” which is what happens to children from destitute families. What happened to Maureen in the story is what happens to many American children living in scarcity.

Maureen detached herself from her family and spent most of her time doing drugs just to escape the miserable life at home. Jeannette and her other siblings endured hunger, bullying, and scarcity in their family with the hope that they were going to become great in future. The family cared for each other and they strived to be successful, which they did, except for Maureen who never accepted to be helped. In conclusion, poverty is prevalent in America and it excessively has an effect on children. Millions of children in America are living in shortage, despite the fact that the US is among the richest countries in the world! These children lack the basic needs and most of them are forced to endure hardships in order to make it in life.

In The Glass Castle, the family was forced to move from one city to the other due to penury. Jeannette and her siblings lived in scarcity just like many other children in America. Even though they were able to make it the future, the indigence in their family had them experience a difficult life, which affected them emotionally, socially, and their life as a whole. In The Glass Castle, Jeannette gives a vivid description of the type of parents they had and the hardships they had to endure, for instance lack of food due to scarcity. Jeannette’s family is an example of a family living in scarcity in America and the hardships children have to go through due to impoverishment!

Work Cited
Walls, Jeannette. The glass castle: a memoir. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006. Print. Wood, David. Effect of Child and Family Poverty on Child Health in the United States. Pediatrics, 112.3, (2003): 707 -71. Print. Dahl Gordon B. and Lochner Lance. The impact of family income on child achievement: Evidence from the earned income tax credit. The American Economic Review, 102.5, (2012): 1927–1956.Print. Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne and Duncan Greg J. The effects of poverty on children. Future Child. 7.2, (1997):55-71. Print.

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