FYS What is a Scholar
Poverty is an ongoing problem in America today with many government programs to help the poor very few make a real difference. Evicted by Mathew Desmond is about the broken eviction system that leaves families in a cycle of boredom. Mathew Desmond is an American scholar who grew up thinking that poverty was a problem of character of the individual, rather than an unfair system further dividing the gap between the lower class and the rest of America. Desmond’s wanted to write a book about the relationship of poverty. He decided to write about eviction because the process connected the rich landlord to the poor tenant.
Evicted is so effective because the real life stories evoke an emotional response. The stories are heartbreaking as you see the lives of 8 families spiral down a broken cycle. Characters struggle with injuries, drug problems, mental problems, and just plain bad luck. Through it all Desmond does not make any comments he just presents the story. Scott’s story had a powerful moment when Scott gets turned away from the overcapacity rehab center. Desmond ends the chapter with “He could have tried again the next day, but instead he went on a three-day bender instead”(Desmond 185). Evicted forces the audience to have a passionate emotional response because Desmond doesn’t show any emotion . It forces you to vent about the unfair system rather than him. It makes you frustrated when Scott falls back to drugs. This unbiased writing style works well with the powerful stories because you come to Desmond’s views on your own rather than agreeing with him. Desmond is able to criticizes the eviction system by using personal stories along with the legal diction of the laws. Desmond puts forward the real world affects and evictions because of these laws. Arleen and Crystal were evicted because they called 911 because they heard domestic violence. According to the laws in Milwaukee 3 911 calls in a month from one property can lead to fine for the owner of the property, this leads to the eviction of the tenant. This enraged me. It pointed to how defective the system was that tenants could get evicted just by reporting crimes. These poverty stricken areas are filled with high crime leading to thousands of evictions because of this one law. Desmond structuring allows you to truly see the fault in the system. Desmond spells out how the system is broken but he never states it making it all the more powerful.
Evicted was an excellent read. It hooked me from the first chapter and kept me engaged all the way through. The book does a good job on speeding up its tempo for less important parts and slowing down at key moments. Desmond captures the heart of his audience while also opening their mind to the need for change. Desmond has made me care more about poverty in America and has made me want to look at it through different subjects such as economics and criminal justice. Poverty in America has so much to be talked about and studied and evictions is just a part of it.
Desmond, Matthew. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. New York: Crown Group, 2016. Print.