"Helping and Hating the Homeless" A summary of Peter Marin piece.

Essay by KurainokenCollege, Undergraduate March 2004

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Peter Marin's piece, "Helping and Hating the Homeless" first appeared in Harper's Magazine (January 1987). It is an account of why some marginalized people "choose" homelessness and why middle-class culture finds them so threatening.

In this piece, Marin explains to his readers that homeless people were once just like the rest of us. Homeless are considered annoying by most Americans. Marin describes the problem of homeless people and the lack of help for this growing problem. Marin had many strong points in his article on the homeless. Marin strongly points out that society does not understand the reasons for the homeless problem because most people are ignorant to the problem or are misinformed.

First of all, there are many different reasons as to why the homeless became homeless, but most people categorize all of these reasons into one, the homeless. They think it is one major group of people with the same problem; living on the streets.

However, the homeless are made up of veterans, the mentally ill, single parents, physically disabled, runaway children, drug addicts and alcoholics. The majority of this list were normal people before becoming homeless. Some were members of the working class who ran into problems and ended up on the streets they had no were else to turn. The homeless problem is more complex than most people can imagine. "The word "homeless" tells us almost nothing" (¶ 8).

People who do not agree with the American life style sometimes end up homeless because they want to be excluded from society. Some people do surprisingly choose to be homeless. Others choose to be homeless because they can not live within a "normal" society. For example, veterans might have to turn to the streets because they couldn't escape the trauma and couldn't live a normal...