"The Homeless And Their Children" by Jonathon Kozol
In "The Homeless And Their Children," Jonathan Kozol describes the hardships that an illiterate woman and her four children must face everyday. The family lives in New York City, in the Martinique Hotel, on 6th Avenue and 32nd Street. This hotel houses over four hundred families that are homeless. In the essay, Kozol interviews a woman who he calls Laura. She has Kozol read a letter to her because she cannot read. The letter says that her oldest son has lead poisoning and needs to go to the hospital for treatment. Kozol explains that children with lead poisoning may have a lack of coordination or have convulsions; and this may happen all at once or it could happen many years later. Her daughter also has a "rash" which later is identified as scabies.
Laura also has many other problems to deal with besides her children's illnesses.
There is a pool of sewage on the floor; the radiator sprays hot steam in the path of the children; the crib that the hotel gave her is falling apart; and the bed frames are made of sharp metal which could cut someone if they happen to fall on them. On top of all those problems, Laura did not receive her welfare benefits this week, so they have very little food to eat; the children have been living on cheese and peanut butter sandwiches. Kozol says that she didn't receive her benefits because they are being "churned."
Laura told Kozol that she cannot read and continues to explain how she shops at the grocery store. She said that she buys the New York Post to look at the pictures, and then goes to the store and buys them, or she will ask the employees where...