Poverty and homelessness are two of the most pressing issues facing our society today. According to the National Poverty Center, there were approximately 43.1 million people living in poverty in the United States in 2016. This represents a significant increase from the 37.3 million people who were living in poverty in 2007. Homelessness is also a major problem in our country. The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that there were 549,928 homeless people in the United States in 2017.
While these numbers may be staggering, it’s important to remember that behind each statistic is a human being with a unique story. In her essay “On Compassion,” Barbara Lazear Ascher argues that true compassion must come from understanding and empathizing with the individual, rather than simply feeling pity for them. Anna Quindlen makes a similar argument in her essay “Homeless.” She writes that we must try to see the homeless as people who are just like us, rather than as strangers to be avoided.
Both Ascher and Quindlen make valid points. It is essential that we understand the individual stories of those who are living in poverty or experiencing homelessness. Only then can we truly have compassion for them. However, we must also remember that these issues are systemic and that individual solutions will not be enough to address them. We must work together to find ways to end poverty and homelessness once and for all.
“On Compassion” by Barbara Lazear Ascher and “Homeless” by Anna Quindlen are two essays written about homelessness; however, they provide different perspectives on the issue. Ascher has written from a compassionate perspective. She describes events with homeless individuals but focuses more on the reactions of others towards them. On the other hand, Quindlen offers a unique view of homelessness that allows readers to see things from the perspective of those experiencing it firsthand.
She was formerly homeless herself and she writes about her experiences. Despite the different approaches, both essays provide insights into the issue of homelessness.
Poverty is often cited as a cause of homelessness. In “On Compassion”, Barbara Lazear Ascher includes statistics that show the correlation between poverty and homelessness. She writes that “[o]ne third of all American families live in poverty, and one family in 50 lives on the streets” (Ascher 3). These statistics illustrate the extent to which poverty can lead to homelessness. Poverty does not only make it difficult to afford housing, but it can also make it difficult to afford basic necessities like food and clothing. This can lead to people becoming homeless.
Homelessness is a problem that is often hidden in plain sight. In “Homeless”, Anna Quindlen writes about how she was once homeless herself. She describes how difficult it is for people who are homeless to find help. She writes that “[t]he thing about being homeless is that it is very hard to get not homeless” (Quindlen 2). This illustrates the difficulties that people who are homeless face in getting out of their situation. People who are homeless often need help in order to find housing and jobs. However, they may not be able to access these resources.
The issue of homelessness is one that affects many people in the United States. In “On Compassion”, Barbara Lazear Ascher writes about the different reactions that people have towards homeless individuals. She describes how some people are compassionate towards the homeless, while others are not.
She writes that “[s]ome of us react to the homeless with compassion, feeling a kinship of condition” (Ascher 4). This illustrates how some people are able to empathize with the situation of the homeless. Other people, however, may not be as understanding. They may see the homeless as dirty and lazy. This can lead to them feeling judge mental towards the homeless.
The issue of homelessness is one that is often misunderstood. In “Homeless”, Anna Quindlen writes about her own experiences with homelessness. She describes how she was once homeless herself. She writes that “[b]eing homeless is not like being poor. Poverty is a function of circumstance. Homelessness is a function of personality” (Quindlen 3). This illustrates how homelessness is not simply a matter of not having enough money. There are often other factors involved, such as mental illness or addiction. These factors can make it difficult for people to keep a roof over their heads.
Despite the different perspectives, both “On Compassion” and “Homeless” provide insights into the issue of homelessness. Poverty is a major cause of homelessness, and it is a problem that is often hidden in plain sight. The issue of homelessness is one that affects many people in the United States. There are different reactions that people have towards homeless individuals, but compassion can go a long way in helping to address the issue.
Quindlen describes a brief interaction with a woman who appears to be homeless. Despite the woman’s raincoat and filthy bag, she produces a series of pictures depicting her house, proclaiming to Quindlen that she is not homeless. At some point in this woman’s life, she had a house–“she was somebody” (217). On the surface, these two essays appear to talk about homeless people in general.
However, Ascher’s purpose for writing “On Compassion” is to challenge the reader to consider whether their compassion is based on false assumptions and. She argues that people are quick to judge and offer help without really knowing the person their story. Quindlen’s essay “Homeless” focuses more on the systemic issues that lead to homelessness and offers a glimpse into the lives of people experiencing homelessness.
Ascher opens her essay by recounting a scene from New York City in which she observed a man begging for money. She was struck by the passersby who either averted their gaze or quickly looked away, choosing not to see the. This led her to question what it means to be compassionate. She argues that people often have a false sense of compassion, which is based on assumptions and pity rather than true understanding.
Quindlen’s essay “Homeless” focuses on the systemic issues that lead to homelessness and offers a glimpse into the lives of people experiencing homelessness. She begins by describing a woman who appears to be homeless but insists she is not because she once had a house. This story highlights the complex reality of homelessness, which is often misunderstood.
Quindlen goes on to discuss the various reasons why people become homeless, such as job loss, domestic violence, and mental illness. She argues that the issue of homelessness cannot be solved by simply giving people homes; it requires addressing the underlying causes.
These two essays offer different perspectives on compassion and homelessness. Ascher challenges the reader to consider whether their compassion is based on false assumptions, while Quindlen sheds light on the systemic issues that lead to homelessness. Both authors offer important insights into this complex issue.