The book Down to Earth Sociology by James M. Henslin explores many sociological themes, activities, and situations. In selection nineteen, Diary of a homeless man, the author explores the life of a particular social group that is very prevalent in our society, primarily in urban societies.
All people are a member of a social group. Perhaps the person is a member by choice, or perhaps the person is a member by circumstance. Social groups may be large, small, or informal. There are some criteria in order to be a member of a social group. A group is a number of people who share a common characteristic, who share an organized pattern or recurrent interaction, and who interact together. Voluntary and involuntary groups also exist. They may be a part of the group by choice (voluntary) or by no choice of their own (involuntary). The social group of homeless persons would be considered an involuntary group because in most instances they did not elect to be homeless.
Diary of a homeless man informs us about the day-to-day trials and tribulations of living as a homeless man on the streets of New York City during the cold winter season. The author of this excerpt, John R. Coleman, the president of a small, private college, decided to find out first hand what life was like living in the shoes of a homeless man for ten days, by directly experiencing this whole, different world.
Coleman begins his journey for his 'new life' at Penn Station where he changes from his normal, day-to-day business suit into his 'homeless clothing'. He wears a flannel shirt, baggy sweater, torn pants, a hat and a coat. He is now ready to begin his life as a homeless man. Within in the first few moments as being homeless,