Hand to Mouth: An Analysis of Poverty Social Inequality

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In Linda Tirado’s Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, Tirado undergoes poverty on multiple counts and elaborates on her experiences from living in poverty. Throughout the book, Tirado speaks from a first-person perspective and thoroughly explains how living in poverty negatively impacts her personal and professional life. For example, she illustrates in great detail what it’s like to raise kids, work several jobs, put food on the table, and pay for a roof over her head while struggling in poverty.

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Within her work, she is able to pinpoint a central theme that shows how her struggles in poverty all result from a lack of sufficient income.

Living in poverty generally indicates that the income one makes is not satisfactory enough to make a comfortable living. Lower paying jobs on average are much more physically demanding and can even have negative impacts on one’s own happiness and emotional state. This tends to be a direct consequence for individuals working jobs that barely pay minimum wage or less. Many of these jobs require employees to be on their feet for multiple hours with one break throughout the shift. Living in poverty severely reduces one’s chances of reaching a higher standard of employment with a higher hourly wage because social mobility is very limited when you are impoverished. Tirado gives numerous examples of this very same effect in her professional life as she faces several endeavors from just trying to make ends meet. For example, she discusses one of her jobs in which she worked as a cook in a kitchen and had much to say about the horrific state of her occupation. My arms and hands are covered in scars from the fryers. Oil at nearly 400 degrees doesn’t tickle when it hits your skin, and you can’t avoid the spatter entirely. I’ve burned my hands because the oven gloves had worn through and the owners were too cheap to spring for another pair. I’ve sliced my fingers open nearly to the bone when knives have slipped. I’ve hurt myself in more ways than I can count because that was how I got my seven or eight bucks an hour (Tirado 2014: pg. 19). This excerpt provided allows readers of Tirado’s work to gain a much more in-depth perspective of how many jobs that are associated with impoverished individuals tend to be much more physically demanding and hands-on required than jobs such as an executive of a major corporation. Jobs such as these can potentially have very harsh repercussions that result in physical discomfort and even pain in some circumstances and can lead to emotional trauma due to the conditions and immediate effects from working in such a place. In addition to many adults who suffer from physical and emotional consequences due to working jobs that are incredibly demanding,

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