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Posted on April 17th, 2014, by

Homes are no more

Anna Quindlen, the Pulitzer Prize winner, journalist and bestselling writer with an effective writing style, is the author of Homeless concerning a burning social issue of homelessness in America. Quindlen uses narrative text type with the tools of descriptive writing. Her writing technique is very persuasive and opulent with details and examples. She logically shows the bitterness of the situation and masterfully describes real people that we meet in the street every day but hardly pays attention to them, robbing their individualities by being indifferent to their problems, hard-hearted towards their troubles, sometimes we even move away, demonstrate hostility or disgust. The concept of home has significantly changed over the years and a relatively high rate of homelessness makes us think of it differently.

We have turned poor homeless people into an impersonal issue bothering the society, but in her essay Anna Quindlen tries to bring the readers to the point that they should treat homeless people differently, not like doomed and faceless crowd. The author argues that homeless people are no longer a collection of human beings (Quindlen). She believes: We turn an adjective into a noun: the poor, not poor people; the homeless, not just an ordinary man who lives in the box or a woman who sleeps on the subway grate (Quindlen). In the whole essay the main idea of homelessness stands out clearly, thus it emphasizes reconsideration of the concept and establishes the robbery of homeless people’s individualities. However, it is only one aspect of the issue. Quindlen conveys an idea that home becomes closer to shelter in its meaning, while once we used to have special attitude to home, the place where we were born, lived and would most likely depart. Nowadays, home has lost its reputation of comfort and security and has turned into a place of living, shelter

Monica Brown


18 November 2012

that we are not connected to emotionally and personally. Modern approach to home is quite flexible, i.e. people grow less attached to their homes and today it rather reminds a temporary pause before moving on to another place. Presently it is easy to move around, to live here for five years, then to rent a new house somewhere else. Hence, the connection to home has definitely weakened and the concept lost its original sense. Homes have become synonymous to real estate.

Quindlen interviews individuals, Ann in particular, whom the journalist meets in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The woman unwillingly tells Quindlen of her life and, shows her a picture of a yellow house with no date or name to prove that she is just passing through. So, Quindlen presupposes that it is not hers or no longer belongs to her. The writer feels each and every hue of the woman’s feelings, saying: I knew what she was trying to tell me, because her feelings seem so familiar (Quindlen). Her at times short clearly-cut sentences demonstrate her straightforwardness and clear position. Though they are not exclamatory sentences, they are virtually emotionally strong ones.

Anna Quindlen purposefully concentrates on the details, as she tries to gather the puzzle of homelessness, calling it most wrong with the world to her, as there are between two and a half and three and a half million of homeless people (Quindlen). Recently the National Center on Family Homelessness has registered that approximately half of the number are children. The number is relatively difficult to estimate because it varies depending on the methodology used. The journalist takes it personally and does not intentionally present bare statistical data that seems more credible. On the contrary, she talks


Monica Brown


18 November 2012

about real people’s lives and by revealing their feelings, Quindlen implies that we should treat them differently and attempt at putting ourselves in their shoes.

The author brings out the idea that the American view of home has actually changed over a few past generations and considers that the phenomena connected with it require reconsideration. Moreover, the issue of homeless people is not paid enough attention to and claims: Homes have stopped being homes in their habitual sense (Quindlen). The change that society has undergone puts homelessness in the forefront and homeless people should be left alone in no circumstances. Everyone deserves a place where he or she would feel safe and secure whatever happens in the rest of the world, a place that would be taken a pride of. It should be a place where the pain grows dull, all problems are put off, a place that is always the light at the end of the tunnel.

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