Poverty Exposed in Elva Treviño Hart's Autobiography, Barefoot Heart
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Life for young Elva Treviño Hart was less than ideal and in her autobiography, Barefoot Heart she vividly explains the back-breaking work, financial hardships, and emotional struggles a migrant worker faces. Influenced by the struggles of day-to-day life, migrant work, school life, and society, Elva was shown over and over again what life would be like if she did not make an effort to change her predestined life. All too commonly people like Elva Treviño who are born into poverty will remain living in such conditions for the rest of their lives; however, growing up in poor conditions will have a great positive influence the life decisions someone like Elva makes.
Many people at one time or another will face some-sort of economic hardship; however it is safe to say that many people do not really know what extreme poverty is like. The Treviño family knows first hand what it is like to work in tedious, mind-numbing jobs for a very little paycheck. The life of a migrant worker is not anything to be desired. Simple things that most would take for granted like food variety, baths, clean clothes, and beds are things that Elva learned to live with. “We couldn’t have a bath every day, since it was such a big production. But [mom] made us wash our feet every night” (125). A simple task to any normal person is a large production for a migrant family that doesn’t have any indoor plumbing. People living in poverty do not often have a large wardrobe to speak of which means that the few clothes they own often remain dirty because washing clothes is a production too. “Ama scrubbed clothes on the washboard while the rest of us bathed. She took a bath last while the rest of us rinsed and hung up the clothes she had washed. This was the only oppor...
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...negative things that happened in her childhood and decided to turn them into positive motivation for a flourishing, fulfilled life. Elva who grew up wanting now could have whatever she wanted. Her children would not have to long for such items as clean clothes and baths. However, when a person does not have the struggles and tribulations that Elva did what becomes their motivation? Hopefully it isn’t all about the money. Elva was determined a have a successful life, never did she define success as being rich. Many people have a dream about leaving poverty behind, yet sadly many people abandon their dream early on and never get to experience success like Elva. All it takes is a little hard, honest work, determination, education, and a desire to never sleep on a cold, dirty floor again.
Hart, Elva Treviño. Barefoot Heart. Tempe: Bilingual Press, 1999.