Response to Anna Quindlen's "Homeless":
Paragraph by paragraph summary:
¶1: While doing a story on homeless people, Quindlen meets Ann, a woman who claims she is just passing through and who pulls out photographs to prove it.
¶2: The photos don't contain people or pets but an everywhere yellow house, neither suburban nor city, and even though Ann's coat and bag were worn and shadowy, Quindlen knows what Ann is trying to tell her: "You are where you live. She was somebody" (177).
¶3: Quindlen focuses more on the details than the big picture and is upset that so many don't homes. She's not talking about places to keep warm and dry or where welfare checks can be sent, though these are important for survival, but places that evoke memories of home.
¶4: "Home is where the heart is" (177), by which she means a place with faults and quirks that are uniquely hers.
¶5: But we've been losing the sense of home her parents and grandparents had, replacing it with a transient sense of home, a place "where you lived for three years, until you could move on to something else and something else again" (177).
¶6: So now we come to something even worse, to children who don't know what a home means because they have never had one and to adults who no longer have a room to make their own and who are reduced to pulling photos from bags. "Homes have stopped being homes. Now they are real estate" (177).
¶7: But people find it curious that some would rather sleep sitting up on benches rather than go to a shelter. And while some suffer mentally and are afraid of the violence, others will not compromise their need for home they can make their own just to get food and a place to sleep: "One room," a woman said, "painted blue" (178).
¶8: While some compassionate people are working on the homeless problem, most walk around it or turn it into an issue rather than "a collection of human beings. We turn an adjective into a noun. The poor. Not poor people" (178).
¶9: Sometimes we would...