Poverty is a subject that is very relevant all over the world today. It is an issue, which affects many people and families. Many people have to struggle everyday just to survive. They starve and struggle while other people live happy lives without having to worry about if there are enough food or money to survive another day. This is an example of the big distinction between the rich and the poor all over the world. In Africa for instance poverty is very common, because it is altogether a very poor country. But, how are the children in the families all over the world affected by poverty? Do they understand the situation they are in and the gravity of it? Poverty and how this affects the children are very relevant themes in the short story “A Gift for My Mother” by Viv McDade, which was published in 2011. This short story is told in a first-person narrator where the viewpoint is from Lucy. Lucy is a little girl, who has just turned ten years old.
She lives in South Africa together with her parents in a little house. Lucy is a good student in the school as she makes her homework and is excellent to everything except the math, which she thinks is difficult. The story takes place in South Africa, which you can read from page 8 line 1 where we hear about a bushveld, which is a plain in South Africa. Lucy and her family live in a little house and are very poor. They live in the poor part of the city, which is separated from the rest by a big fence. This is an example of the distinctions there are between the rich and the poor. The father works at a garage, but he does not earn enough for them to live on, which you can read from the several examples in the story like page 8 line 31:“How much is there this week? asked my mother, and she gave a little laugh.” This little laugh tells us that she already knows the answer.
Clearly, it is not the first time she asks her husband this question. Another example from the story is on page 8 line 33:” What you’ve earned isn’t enough for us to live on.” Which just emphasizes how poor they really are. At the same time it tells us how frustrated the mother is by the fact that they do not have enough money to live for and how tired she is of living like this and just wishes a better life for her family. Lucy’s relationship to her parents is good. She cares a lot about her parents and wants them to be happy. She wants to help them, which she tries to do by selling flowers to the rich people. However her mother becomes upset when she sees the money, “she slapped the table hard with both hands,” Page 11 line 149. Lucy does not understand why she is getting upset, because she thought she did the right thing. This is an example of how poverty affects the children in the families. Lucy just wants to help her parents but her mother gets upset because she thinks it is embarrassing and she has too much pride to keep the money.
“Go and give the money back. Tell them your mother won’t let you keep the money.” Page 11 line 156. When her father comes home every day, he finds Lucy and says: “Hello, my precious”. Page 8 line 16. This tells us how much he loves and care about his daughter, he calls her his precious to emphasize that she is the one who means most to him. He helps her with her homework when he comes home. She likes it when he helps her and is spending some time with her, as you can read from page 8 line 25:” He’s a far better teacher than Mrs. Emmerson”. This tells us that Lucy and her father have a good relationship, because he do not make her feel stupid if she not understand her homework. As mentioned the main theme in this short story is poverty. Poverty is a very common subject in Africa, where many people starve and struggle everyday just to survive. This is emphasized in the short story by both physically and mentally examples, which all point to poverty and its effect on the family.
For example we read about how Lucy’s father has to work hard every day, but does not earn enough to provide a good future for Lucy, page 8 line 33. At the same time, another theme in the short story could be how poverty affects the children in the families since this also is emphasized in the short story where we hear about how Lucy sells flowers in an attempt to help her parents. However when her mother gets upset she does not understand why, because she does not think she has done anything wrong, page 11 line 162. This shows us that the children do not always understand the situation they are in. Lucy and her family in the short story are good examples of how some people have to struggle every day just to survive.
The parents work hard just to earn some money even though they know it is not enough. Lucy is a very good example of how poverty does affect the children in the families since even a little girl at her age is aware of the problems caused by poverty. These problems are what makes her want to help her parents, which she thinks she does by selling flowers to the rich people, who just feels sorry for her and her family. However, Lucy does not understand why her mother gets upset when she sees the money, which just emphasize that the children do not understand the gravity of the situation they are in.