Suggestions for a course called Reading Poverty: Literature and Service
Compiled by Debby Rosenthal, John Carroll University


Ann Petrey, The Street

Stephen Crane, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

Harriet Wilson, Our Nig

Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street

Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

Helena Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus

Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina

Jane Adams, 20 Years at Hull House

Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle

Mary Childer, Welfare Brat

Louisa May Alcott, Work

Pietro Di Donato, Christ in Concrete

William Kennedy, Ironweed

Carolyn Chute, Beans of Egypt, Maine

Edith Wharton, Summer  or   Ethan Frome

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Richard Wright, Native Son

Anzia Yezierska, The Bread Givers

Tomas Rivera, And the Earth Did Not Devour Him

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

Sapphire, Push (basis of the movie Precious)

Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven or Absolutely True Diary of a

   Part-Time Indian

Agnes Smedley, Daughter of the Earth

Edwidge Dandicat, The Farming of Bones

Tillie Olson, Yonnandio

Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place



Willa Cather, “Paul’s Case”

Stories by Tilly Olson

Rebecca Harding Davis, “Life in the Iron Mills”

Mary Wilkins Freeman, “A New England Nun,” “A Church Mouse”

Mary Dodge, “Sunday Afternoon in a Poor House”

Meridel Le Sueur, “Women Are Hungry,” “Annunciation”



Gwendolyn Brooks

Philip Levine


Visual representations of the poor

Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives

James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Shelby Lee Adam, Appalachian Lives

Address e-mail to Donna Campbell, campbelld at wsu dot edu .