Factors which Helped Whitiker Escape Poverty and Moved up Middle-Class
“Angela Whitiker’s climb” is a June 12, 2005 publication in The New York Times and has been authored by Isabel Wilkerson. The article describes the life of a woman who rose from a class of poverty to a middle class with a great expectation of a smooth life in the middle class only to find out that hers was never a true middle-class life.
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There are three significant factors which helped Whitiker to escape poverty and move up middle-class status. Her strong will-power, which was cultured by the brutal experiences of poverty from her tender age, made her pursue middle-class status. The author of the article also describes that Whitiker was living in a poor neighborhood full of crime and all forms of evil (p. 205).
When she met a man (the father of Jonathan) who was able to pay her rent, she saw it as a good opportunity to join Kennedy-King Community College for a pre-nursing program, which she later discontinued (p. 206). The author describes that Whitiker’s stay for nine months at Robert Taylor, where there was much crime, poverty, and insecurity, made her “a new woman” who knew that “she had to get back into nursing school if she was ever going to get anywhere” (p. 209).
Whitiker’s climb to the middle class would never have been realized if she never met her current husband, Vincent Allen. Not only did Allen bring order in the family by taking the role of a father, but he also motivated her not to give up on the dream of becoming a nurse. With Allen handling most financial responsibilities at home as well as schooling aid, Whitiker was able to go back to nursing college, where she pursued her dream of joining the middle class with passion and seriousness (p. 211, p. 213).
The possession of a nursing degree was also a major factor that led Angela into middle-class status. The author says that Whitiker knew that passing her nursing degree meant that her life would be transformed henceforth. Failing meant that she would remain in poverty. Her joy in passing the exam was even felt by the neighbors as she celebrated the big welcome to the middle-class (p. 214).
Impact of social class on Angela’s children
Whitiker lived in both poor and middle-class statuses and these two classes impacted heavily on her children. For instance, the crime-ridden life of poverty and drugs made Nicholas and Willie end up in crime and dropped school. By Whitiker moving into the middle-class, she was empowered financially to give her children a good education. Whitiker’s middle-class made her feel compelled to discourage her children from joining the army and instead encouraged them to find a career. Christopher was a great beneficially of the middle class as he never experienced the life of crime and poverty, and he was even able to attend good schools and get closer attention (p. 218). The nursing job, however, was too demanding and time-consuming that she had little time with her children.
Wilkerson, Isabel. Angela Whitiker’s climb. The New York Times. 2005. pp 202-233.
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