Imagine you are homeless. You have no money, no job, and, obviously, no home. Every day you wake up, grab your sign, and stand on a corner. Sometimes people stop, but most of the time, cars whiz past you without thinking twice. Now imagine you are homeless, but this time it is during the Depression. How is it different? Do people help you in the same way as they would in today’s society? Our society’s attitudes towards homelessness and poverty are both similar and different than society’s attitudes during the depression. One of the many similarities the homeless in the present have with the homeless in the 20’s and 30’s is that people are still trying to help out. In The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, the waitress at the diner, Mae, helps the Oakies that come in. She gives them bread for 10 cents when it’s actually 15 cents and she also gives them two pieces of candy for 1 penny when they were actually 5 cents apiece. That kind of kindness still exists. You see people on the streets with cardboard signs asking for money or food, and sometimes you see people pull over in their cars and give them what they need. It’s generous and it’s one thing that has stayed the same throughout time. In the 1920’s and 30’s people often took advantage of the homeless and poor. They still do. Car dealers do it a lot. If a homeless or poor person needs a car, they have to buy it at an inflated price, even if the car is old and beat down. The reason the car dealers do this is because they know the poor people need the car so bad that they’ll pay whatever they can for it. Pawn shops are the same way. Just like during the Depression, some people today still have hatred towards the homeless and poor. In My Turn: No Heart for the Homeless, written in 1986, the writer, Stuart D. Bykofsky has a lot of hate for the homeless. He states that “They are America’s living nightmare—tattered human bundles. They have got to go.” That is almost exactly how the Californian’s felt...
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