Homeless “Home is where the heart is. ” We have all heard this saying at least once in our lives but really, is that true? The short story “Homelessness” by Anna Quindlen discusses this question. For the author, her home is everything to her. It’s a place of certainty, stability, predictability, privacy for not only her but her family and that is all she could ask for. However while covering a story of homelessness, she meets a woman in a bus terminal and she soon gets a different outlook about what matters in a home. Ann was her name.
She told Anna that She was wasting her time talking to her because she was just passing through. To prove that she was telling the truth Ann pulled out a manila envelope and brought her photographs. The average person would expect them to be of her family, friends or pets. On the contrary they were pictures of a house. Anna knew right away what Ann was trying to tell. Even though she was alone, anonymous and her bags and raincoats made her look like didn’t have a home. She did a long time ago. Inside that house was “a couch, a stove and potholders. Anna realized that it’s all about whom you are, not where you live, Anna goes on to say that she was somebody. It seems so surreal. Everyday anybody can turn on the world news and see that the amount of homeless people in America is going up. It’s like we put them (homeless) in a category, that if there are homeless, that means they (homeless) have nothing. We stereotype them (homeless). I know if I walk down the road in Washington D. C. , which has the highest rate of homeless people in America, I would slowly feel sorry for those people.
I obtain this premeditated thought that if you don’t have a home then you don’t have anything. In this story Anna discusses this exact thing. “We turn the adjective into a noun: the poor not the poor people; the homeless, not Ann or the man who lives in the box or the woman sleeps in a subway gate. ” Its kind of funny. As a child I can remember being sent up to my room for punishment when I didn’t follow the rules. I hated it. I hated being in a place with four walls and the fact that I didn’t have the freedom to get out.
As I went back for Christmas break I can remember the feeling I got when I walked into my room and even more when I lay on my bed. For once in my life I have known what is what was like to be out there on my own, in my own dorm room, doing my own things, in charge of my own life. As a child I never appreciated the value of having my own room to myself because I didn’t know what it was like to not have one. Everything was so simple back then; everything was pretty much handed to me. However as I progressed through this first year I realize that the real life is not like that at all.
I need to be able to adapt to change; to be able to make my home wherever I am at. As Ann tells us at some point in life our homes stop being homes and like for me now it was just a place that I come back during breaks. Ann is in a more dramatic situation then mine but it still is the same. She had a home at one time but now she has learned to take her home with her and adapt to the change of everyday life. This story brings to mind a difficult problem. I believe it’s true when Anna tells us “we work around it, just as we walk around it when it is laying on the sidewalk or sitting in the bus terminal-the problem that is. We all need to treat the people without homes the same way we treat each other. However the media and the world present a different perspective. They tell us that it’s ok to stereotype them. We need to take a small step to change this way of thinking. Sure we could go out and work in shelters to feed the hungry. However I think mother Teresa says it best when she said ““We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. ”
I think Anna realized there is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes. We cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry and the homeless are, there we can help. We can start to help buy serving at shelters but more importantly instilling in our children and other family members that homeless people are people and that the impact you made on this world shouldn’t be to judge how big your house is or how many toys you have. It should be based on how many people’s day you brighten throughout your life.