The True Meaning of Wealth

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The True Meaning of Wealth Whether it is a quick trip out to the grocery store or walking through the mall at Christmas time, we are always asked to give to charity. Some people give out of the goodness of their hearts, some guilt and others give to gratify their own narcissistic personalities. The dark side of giving is displaced clearly in Gwendolyn Brooks’ “The Lovers of the Poor”, where the “Ladies from the Ladies’ Betterment League” (Brooks 1) give selectively as to not harm their gentle temperaments. The poem also speaks to what truly makes a person rich and poor beyond monetary means and begs the age old question, does money mean everything?. The narrator in “The Lovers of the Poor” speaks in a satirical voice which exposes the failings of the Ladies through bitter indignation (Baldick 299). The social issues in this poem, though written about in the 1960’s, still hold true in today’s society with the widening gap between the wealthy and poor. In Gwendolyn Brooks’ “The Lovers of the Poor”, the narrators’ satirical voice is used to reveal the Ladies as truly poor at heart by enlighten the reader to the dark side of charity and explaining what the Ladies value contrasted to what the poor have. The narrator in “The Lovers of the Poor” exposes the selfish side of giving to charity through the diction and tone the narrator uses to speak. The omniscient narrator in “The Lovers of the Poor” has knowledge of all the true motives and unspoken thoughts of the Ladies and the Poor (Baldick 240). The narrator, even when speaking in the Ladies perspective, because of her all-knowing voice, is critical of the Ladies charity. The Ladies mission is to give money to the poor but as the poem describes, their “clean…pretty money… collected from rose-fingers” (Brooks 63-4) is too good for the Poor they visited and they agree to go elsewhere to find more “worthy” (Brooks 23)
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