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It is imperative to mention that poverty is a fascinating topic that has been actively discussed by scholars. Homelessness is especially problematic because most people have no options to improve their living conditions and are forced to move from one region to another to stay safe. The situation has been getting especially problematic ever since the recession in the United States. Similar events have been described in the literature and Down and out in Paris and London is the work that should be highlighted. George Orwell was able to predict some of the issues that people would have to deal with in the future, and the fact that current situation resembles a novel is truly worrying. The primary causes of poverty are relatively the same, and the improvements that have been shown are rather not significant. The impact of the economic situation in the country and underdeveloped policies is especially noticeable, and it would be beneficial to focus on these aspects.
The way the author describes poverty is truly astounding, and actions of characters seem incredibly reasonable. One of the most significant aspects that should not be overlooked is that the author has learned this from his personal experience, and utilized the knowledge that has been gained to make the work incredibly realistic. Some of the most important aspects related to this issue are discussed in an article by Hefner titled “Poverty in the United States: Ministry and Protest.” The author states that close to fifteen and nine percents of the population of the United States lived in extreme poverty in 2011. Also, it is necessary to mention that the situation is even worse compared to previous years (Hefner 6). The fact that the structure of society is discussed is especially interesting, and it is suggested that opinions of people that live in poverty are not acknowledged most of the time. Moreover, the number of people that are living in appalling conditions is unacceptable.
Another aspect that is worth noting is that the situation is not the safe for different races, and numerous internal and external factors affect earnings. It is understandable that such aspects as the level of education play a vital role, but dissimilarity in these numbers is not acceptable. The government has been trying to resolve this problem, but the situation is complicated by the economic climate and other issues. The situation is getting especially problematic when it comes to children. The fact that young people are forced to deal with homelessness is an enormous problem that needs to be addressed. It is necessary to understand that such lifestyle has a tremendous impact on health and well-being of an individual. Children are affected the most, and such conditions may lead to the development of depression and other illnesses. Another aspect that is worth noting is that adolescents are more prone to attacks and abuse, and such experience may be traumatizing. Orwell does not devote enough attention to this aspect, and it indicates that the number of young people without a home is much smaller in the society that is described.
The way people that live in poverty are treated needs to be discussed. “It is curious how people take it for granted that they have a right to preach at you and pray over you as soon as your income falls below a certain level” is a critical line (Orwell 130). Moreover, it reflects the situation that has occurred in modern society. People that earn less are frequently criticized and laughed at, and it is regarded an acceptable behavior. Such people are viewed as weak, and many think that they lack motivation and desire to work at well-paying jobs. However, it is paramount to understand that they frequently become victims of circumstances, and it is not entirely their fault. For instance, the central character is robbed, and the funds that he has left are not sufficient enough to keep living like he used to in the past, but he tries to come up with a solution.
The fact that his employer had to leave the country for a short period later in the story has forced the narrator to become homeless. It is evident that such situation was hard to predict, and the same thing could have happened to anybody. Mockery and unfair treatment are extremely unreasonable most of the time, and many individuals lack sympathy and empathy. This type of behavior demonstrated by other classes often leads to enormous tension. The central character had to suffer from insults, but he understood that nothing could be done, and he had to accept the situation. Additionally, every single day is a struggle for people that are homeless, and they have to look for ways in which they may survive. This type of lifestyle leads to severe consequences and the damage to health is irreversible most of the time.
An article by Murphy and Tobin titled “Homelessness in the U.S.” examines the history of this problem and how poverty rates have changed over the years. Also, authors think that the problem should be studied from another perspective, and much more attention should be devoted to the economic environment and policies (Murphy and Tobin 276). It is imperative to understand that mental changes and alterations to the character may be enormous. Moreover, it may not be an easy task to recognize individuals that have been living on the street because they can become different people in some cases depending on the situation. “Poverty frees them from ordinary standards of behavior, just as money frees people from work” is another line that needs to be discussed (Orwell 4).
The author understands that people are forced to act differently because of lack of funds. Some of their actions may seem reckless, but they can be justified from the perspective of ethics. Therefore, people may have to work at jobs that are not prestigious or can sell items that are valuable to their families. However, this behavior is believed to be reasonable if the goal is to protect close ones and to provide them with everything that is necessary. Also, it is imperative to mention that the author suggests that the issue of homelessness affects men the most, and this situation can be seen in the 21st century in the United States. The problem is that there is an enormous difference between the behavior of males and females most of the time. Women are more likely to look for treatment, and they do not suffer from substance abuse as much. Also, the number of shelters for males is much smaller, and they are not provided with much support. Consequently, the situation that has occurred is quite problematic because most forms of media prefer to ignore this issue.
An article by Beard titled “A Theoretical Understanding of Housing and Homelessness” is also worthy of a discussion. The author focuses on primary causes that lead to such lifestyle, and the most attention is devoted to policies. The most significant problem that needs to be discussed is that there is that some people believe that homeless individuals deserve such treatment and some think otherwise. Moreover, some of the policies that have developed can be viewed as questionable, and their effectiveness is rather minimal. The author suggests that critical events play a significant role, and are frequently followed by alterations in the laws (Beard 71).The author tries to grab the attention of readers with the line that states “the mass of the rich and the poor are differentiated by their incomes and nothing else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit” (Orwell 86).
In other words, he believes that people that live in poverty can be just as smart as individuals that are well-paid. Furthermore, Orwell suggests that happiness cannot be bought, but it becomes an issue when the health of a person is affected. The problem is that wealthy people become even richer with every single year, and people at the bottom of the scale have to suffer. Some may believe that it is caused by such factors as capitalism and others, but it is a complicated issue that needs to be researched much more. Overall, it can be seen that the central character acknowledges the fact that homeless people are unfairly judged most of the time, and poverty is caused by various factors including questionable policies and unfair treatment.
In conclusion, it is evident that a significant similarity between the work of the author and current events in the United States is present. It is necessary to understand that underlying causes of poverty are mostly the same, and the fact that the government does not devote enough attention to this topic is worrying. The situation is not much different from the one that was described by Orwell because many new issues have been introduced. Therefore, the problem is that the situation in the United States is unique, and it is complicated by relationships between different races and other issues. It is entirely possible that poverty will always exist if the current economic system is not altered because it is extremely reliant on the lower class. However, it is hard to argue with the fact that something needs to be done about poverty. Moreover, it is especially true for homelessness because it hurts the economy of the country. The responses that are shown by societies in the novel and 21st century the United States are quite similar. Even the central character thought of homeless people as lazy until he had to experience such issues himself. Health and well-being of citizens are of utmost importance for the government, and such objectives cannot be reached if an enormous percentage of the population has to live in extreme poverty. Furthermore, it would be wise to examine the experience of other countries in this area to understand which policies would be more beneficial. Overall, numerous changes to the policies should be considered because current approach cannot be viewed as efficient and many complications could occur. The possibility of another financial crisis is especially problematic, and the government should develop a set of strategies that can be used in such situations.
Beard, Virginia. “A Theoretical Understanding of Housing and Homelessness: Federal Homelessness and Housing Policy through the Lenses of Punctuated Equilibrium Theory and Advocacy Coalition Frameworks.” Poverty and Public Policy 5.1 (2013): 67-87. Print.
Hefner, Philip. “Poverty in the United States: Ministry and Protest.” Dialog: A Journal of Theology 52.1 (2013): 6-8. Print.
Murphy, Joseph, and Kerri Tobin. “Homelessness in the U.S.: A Historical Analysis.” American Educational History Journal 41.1 (2014): 267-84. Print.
Orwell, George. Down and out in Paris and London. 1933. Los Angeles, CA: Lulu.com, 2012. Print.