Homelessness in the Society

199 views 4 pages ~ 1021 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

According to Alexie, the homeless in society are treated differently from the rest of society; while some go past them, others look in rage or disdain, and yet others watch and empathize with them (1). The homeless population in the United States faces a number of social issues, which are exacerbated by their great poverty. The majority of the country's extremely poor end up homeless and unable to support for themselves because their lives are consumed by drinking and drug addiction. The relation between alcoholism and homelessness is evident in the society with most of the poor in the community resolving to alcohol consumption as a means to relieve them from the issues affecting them in real life (Schanzer, Dominguez, Shrout, and Caton 466). However, it is the disregard of this homeless populace that raises concerns because they are abandoned by the society to live in poor conditions that affect their health and well-being. The homeless in the society faces many challenges, mostly influenced by neglect and marginalization in the society, and they deserve better treatment.

Sherman Alexie’s story is based on being homeless and among the marginalized population of the U.S, the Indian tribes. According to Alexie, being a homeless person in America comes with its fair amount of challenges further enhanced by the extreme poverty levels that face them (1). Jackson claims to have worked on many blue-collar jobs after he dropped out of college and suffered the failures of marriage and relationships that led him to homelessness. The homeless in the society are poor, not just poor but extremely poor to the extent that they cannot feed themselves. Free meal centers that are set up in the community only serve a few of these people, while others are forced to look for food in the bins or go hungry for a considerable amount of time. Getting a meal is not the only challenge that faces the homeless since they also lack access to clean water to use for washing and bathing and drinking, which gradually compromises their hygiene. The contrast to Jackson is that while he can shower and use public bathrooms, not every homeless person in the society is afforded the same privileges.

However, of most concern is the increasing level of alcoholism and drug abuse that has characterized the homeless population. Jackson's story portrays the constant battle with alcohol addiction he has had to the point that he drinks so much that he wakes up from the rail tracks and badly wounded (Alexie 16). Every dollar that he earns is spent on food and mostly alcohol repeatedly over time, despite being a sensible person. These are also the real-life problems affecting the problems affecting the homeless, as most are unable to do without alcohol and other drug substances. The levels of abuse of alcohol and drugs are high among these population due to being neglected and marginalized in the society and cannot be provided with rehabilitation services. Henwood, Padgett, Smith, and Tiderington note that once the homeless become addicted to alcohol and drugs substances, they are unlikely to recover and will continue down the spiral and in some cases become victims of the abuse of the alcohol and drugs (243). Jackson is a victim of addiction to drinking and smoking of cigarettes a habit that has affected his health and lifestyle.

The perceptions of the homeless in the society are also a contributing factor to the negligence and marginalization they receive in the society. The homeless are seen as foolish and stupid due to the life they lead and the choices that they make while living in the society. Jackson is referred to as a “sentimental fool” by Mary at the Korean grocery store for being homeless and not having the capacity to lead a desirable lifestyle. These perceptions of the homeless create animosity towards them from other people since they are considered a nuisance in the society due to their lack of better choices and inability to live like the rest of the ‘normal’ population. However, not all the people in the society have embraced these perceptions towards the homeless. Some like Officer Williams and the Pawnbroker are mindful and sympathetic to the homeless like Jackson. Officer Williams helps Jackson when he was drunk and slept at the railroad tracks by offering to take him for detox and assisting him on his quest, despite his reservations, “I believe you’ll take my money and get drunk on it” (Alexie 15).

In conclusion, the notion of foolishness among the homeless is a myth that Jackson defies since he is sensible enough to focus on the task to get his grandmother’s necklace from the pawnshop. Just as other people in the society, the homeless require help in their struggles and daily lives with issues of alcohol abuse, hygiene, health, and nutrition, among others. The failure to provide these services to the homeless only further increases their deterioration and affects their lives. The homeless have needs that include the basic needs that every human being requires that are shelter, food, and clothing to live a desirable life in the society. Neglect by the society only encourages the marginalization of these groups and impacts negatively on how they live and are perceived by other people. The federal and state governments need to be actively involved in ensuring that the homeless provided with care services in the society by providing them with the necessary needs to live an appropriate life. Rehabilitation centers should be welcoming to the homeless to help with their battles on drug substances and addiction. Humanity should not be discriminatory to other human beings on the merit of inferiority in comparison to others because it is a moral wrong and it is a violation of human rights.

Work Cited

Alexie, Sherman. "What You Pawn I Will Redeem." The New Yorker, 2003: (1-19) from https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2003/04/21/what-you-pawn-i-will-redeem.

Henwood, Benjamin F., et al. "Substance abuse recovery after experiencing homelessness and mental illness: Case studies of change over time." Journal of dual diagnosis 8.3 (2012): 238-246.

Schanzer, Bella, et al. "Homelessness, health status, and health care use." American Journal of Public Health 97.3 (2007): 464-469.

June 12, 2023

Poverty Issue

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Social Problems
Verified writer

When you require an expert in social sciences, Tim1134 is the safest bet! Sharing my task for a paper revision, my writer understood every comment and kept my back safe. Professional attitude for every task that you may have!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro