Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Journal #4

One of the first things that we learned was the availability of healthcare and services such as social workers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, dentists.

Moreover, before reading the book, most of us thought that the people living in shelters would be bums who didn’t try to help themselves out of the situations, but it is not the case. Shepard saw both types of people at the shelter. There were people fell upon hard times and who were working to get their lives back on track. There were others who were satisfied by living there, and using their money to buy drugs, cigarettes or alcohol instead of saving money to move out on their own.

We all agreed on a point: he basically made up a story that was a necessary action to be accepted, but ethically, it was wrong. Plus, he could have offended some of the other residents of the shelter, especially those who he became friend with, because he didn’t tell the truth. They didn’t really know who he was. He chose to be in that situation whereas all the people he met throughout his experience didn’t. He could have easily gotten out of this status whenever he wanted. Although it was necessary for his experiment, it didn’t seem right to use services that are reserved for people who really need them. He got discounts on the bus fare, and received food stamps which takes away resources that other people in need could have used.

If we were only considering that Shepard’s exploration of the homeless subculture, he probably could have gathered a lot of information. Indeed, he could have done so by researching, interviewing, looking at statistics of homeless people’s employment rate and how often they return to the shelter. He could have looked for their statistics of income and if there is an increase or decrease throughout the year of residents at shelters. He could interview people that came from a bad background and made it big. However, since his ultimate goal was to prove if the American Dream was still a reality, his method choice was probably his best shot.

Shepard concludes saying that the United States of America is the best place for class mobility. He finds out that it is possible to make it from the bottom of the scale in American society. His goal was more to demonstrate that the American Dream is still alive and not only an illusion even we are in time of recession than exploring the subculture of homeless people. He totally succeeded on that point, since all the goals he had before the beginning of his experience were achieved in 6 months. Indeed, by that time, he already had a furnished apartment, a car, a job and more than $2,500 on his bank account. Some people discuss his success because of his background: he had no health problems, psychological disorders. Moreover, he was white and basically could not suffer from any discrimination. Even though those theses are approved by some people, Shepard’s experiment is still remarkable. If he had enough courage and envy to get out of his status whereas he was not in “real” danger – he could have given up his project and come back to his real life – we could expect people in “real” need to put even more effort in this process of social status raise and eventually search for the American Dream. It was successful. He did a case study where he was the case and showed that the American Dream is attainable

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Matt - Organizer Epilogue

Adam Shepard makes several statements regarding the American Dream at the end of his book. He comments on how the definition of the American Dream has changed since America’s creation. Early on in the 20th century many people sold everything they had to come to America; they had hopes of finding a way to become financially sound. This is still true, today, but happiness has become a major part of the American Dream. Many people find happiness within their current lifestyles without finding excessive wealth. Adam Shepard realizes the American Dream is still alive and thriving; people have just changed their focus in life, and the American Dream reflects this.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nick - Voc Epilogue

Epilogue, p. 211: Didactic- intended for instruction.

Epilogue, p. 211: Narcoleptic- a condition characterized by frequent and uncontrollable periods of deep sleep.

Epilogue, p. 212: Vitality- power to live or grow.

Epilogue, p. 213: Abound- to occur or exist in great quantities or numbers.

Epilogue, p. 214: Amendable- to alter, modify, rephrase, or add to or subtract from.

Epilogue, p. 216: Vernacular- native or indigenous.

Epilogue, p. 216: Coalition- a union into one body or mass.

Epilogue, p. 217: Subsidizing- to furnish or aid.

Epilogue, p. 217: Apathetic- not interested or concerned; indifferent or unresponsive.

Epilogue, p. 220: Plight- a condition, state, or situation, esp. an unfavorable or unfortunate one.

Sophia- Quizzer Epilogue

Q: What are some of the horror stories that Adam did not talk about?
A: Some of the stories that Adam did not talk about was not because they were not important but because otherwise his book would have been about 100 more pages. He could have talked more about the stories about the war from other people at the shelter, The guy that was stabbed with a six inch blade outside of the shelter and later the next day came in and was showing everybody it, about other moves that he did like to Florida and Virginia, or about the quarrels that he a BG got into. Other stories that he could have talked about was a crack-ring bust that happened in their neighborhood and when he escorted a narcoleptic pothead to Tennessee.

Q: Why does Adam refer to us all as pilots?
A: Because we all have to choose what we want to do in life whether we want to try to move up in our lives or we just want to sit there and just make it by. When people are at the bottom they should take less time off and not go on as many big vacation. That way they can work and save up enough money to be more stable.

Q: Adam says that the “American Dream” is so much more than it used to be, what does he say it is now? What did it used to be?
A: The “American Dream” used to be that a European would sell all of his goods and sail to America with only $100. He would work in the factories so that his children would have the opportunity to school. Also he would get married and have 2.5 children. But now the “American Dream” is not only about financial ambition, but about having the chance to work hard for what you want and about fining happiness and solace.

Q: Adam says that we should go out and help the unprivileged people. What are some of the things that he suggests?
A: First of all just paying taxes is not enough. People should pick up the phone, volunteer, talk to a parent about his or her questionable behavior, or make a loan that does not need to be paid back. Another thing that people can do is go to the local school and volunteer after school to work with the children. Some of the things that they can do are read to the children, help them with fractions, or teach them how to play different games or sports. Doing these things won’t only make the person doing them feel good, but also the child who they are helping.

Celia - Summary Epilogue

In the epilogue, Adam explains that he exceeded his own expectations. As the chapters go by, his social ascension is totally observable and he reaches his goals after 6 months only. He ended his project earlier because of his mother’s cancer, but if he had continued all the way, he would have very easily doubled his resources.

Adams talks about the stereotypes that he had about homelessness prior to his experience. As many people do, he didn’t know all the resources that the shelters had and all the services that they could offer to the people in need. Also, he admits that he supposed that all the homeless shelter residents would be “old, hairy and smelly.” His experience showed him that some people are unfortunately victims of fate.

Later in the epilogue, Adam spend a while talking about his country and how great it is. He realized that this experiment would have turned out very differently in another country in Latin America, Asia or Africa. He proudly deems that he lives in the “greatest country in the world,” and explains that the USA is a place where opportunities are everywhere if people adopt the good attitudes. He thinks that too many people are in an “it ain’t my fault” spiral and keep complaining instead of taking responsibilities.

From that point, he insists on the fact that people should be increase their responsibilities within their own communities and stop waiting for the government’s actions.
Finally, Shepard thinks that besides his College education, his life is pretty much like before his experience. He plans on keeping the same tactics and techniques to save money that he assimilated throughout his year.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nick - Organizer # 7

The things pictured above show deal with the closing chapters of the book. Shepard owns a truck and is renting an apartment with a person named BG. BG takes Shepard's truck for long periods of time and doesn't tell Shepard the truth of where he has been. Because of these happenings Shepard starts a fight with BG and gets beat up in their apartment. He said that blood was everywhere because he cracked his head on the floor. The final picture is a calendar. This represents the time that Shepard has spent on his experiment. He was only able to complete nine months out of the year long time span he was planning on, due to a family emergency.

Sophia- Vocabulary Ch 15-16

Deadpan (pg 209)- a face showing no expression.

Eloquently (pg 210)- having or exercising the power of fluent, forceful, and appropriate speech

Indolent (pg 212)- having or showing a disposition to avoid exertion; slothful

Debacle (pg 213)- a general breakup or dispersion; sudden downfall or rout

Reminisce (pg 213)- To recollect and tell of past experiences or events.

Chemotherapy (pg215)- the treatment of disease by means of chemicals that have a specific toxic
effect upon the disease-producing microorganisms or that selectively destroy cancerous tissue.

Horrendous (pg217)- appalling, frightful, hideous.

Aura (pg 219)- a distinctive and pervasive quality or character

Cronies (pg 220)- a close friend or companion; chum.

Mischievous (pg 222)- maliciously or playfully annoying.

Celia - Quizzer Chap 15 & 16

Q1: How does BG and Adam’s relationship evolves? Why? Is it legitimate?
At that point of the book, Adam is already slightly annoyed with BG, and thinks that he has made many concessions. However, even though Adam gave some signs, BG keeps acting selfishly and taking things for granted, with Adam’s truck for example. He goes away with his truck, without even considering that Adam could need it, and invents lies and other pretexts. Adam will become very angry as BG’s behavior doesn’t change and is pushed to the extreme of non respect.

It is totally legitimate because as in every relationship, compromises must come from both persons and honesty should be one of the primary values. Who would not get mad at his or her roommate who would eat his or her food, take his or her car on a regular basis without filling up the gas tank – or basically taking advantage of most of your goods?

Q2: What happens next?
BG took the truck and drove to a karaoke night with it, not even two blocks away from home. Adam was suspicious and walked around to see if his doubts could be confirmed. In found his car, “stole” it and hid it a little bit further, in order to make BG feeling bad. It works, BG apologizes and Adam considers the case closed, until, 3 days later, when BG does the exact same thing. This time, Adam is totally angry and mad, and as soon as BG comes back, he jumps on him and they start to fight, very intensely. Derrick has to intervene and tries to separate them, thinking that BG could actually kill Adam. No matter how much blood Adam is bleeding, he’s fighting for his respect.

A couple of days later, the two roommates finally apologize to each other, and a brand new relationship grew out of this fight, they became best friends since then. They also agreed that both working and living together was too much; BG changed crew and it helped a lot to purify their relationship.

Q3: Why does Adam leave Charleston earlier than initially planned? Does it change the final results of his experience?
Adam’s mother’s cancer returned, and he needed to be close to her and help his brother and father taking care of her and paying for the needed treatments. Adam starts working for Fast Company but in Raleigh, and also gets a job as a wheelchair attendant at the airport. All he is doing there is not part of his experience anymore, it is “real life.”
The fact that Adam left Charleston earlier doesn’t affect his project because he had already achieved the goals that he had set.

Q4: How does he feel before leaving Charleston? How do BG and Derrick react when Adam reveals the real purpose of his situation and adventure?
Adam is proud of what he achieved and experienced. As he is making the point about the past months that he lived, he also thinks a lot about the future months coming up. He is wondering how he could evolve in the society with the money that he has that point ($5300) considered what he achieved with only $25.

Derrick and BG react the same way, they are indifferent to the news. I found that reaction very interesting because before reading the book, I was certain that if anyone would learn about the real purpose of Adam’s adventure it would create some sort of tension. I was expecting a lot of “why?” and probably some jealousy somehow. After all, why would someone voluntarily choose to start from “nothing” when some have not had the choice?

Matt- Summary: Chapters 15-16

Even though Adam and BG had worked out their differences in the past, they still had problems with each other. Most of these problems were centered around the use of Adam’s truck. BG felt he could use Adam’s truck whenever he felt like it and Adam, did not share his feelings. BG would often “borrow” Adam’s truck without asking first, and he would fail to bring it back at the specified times. As a result, Adam came up with several ingenious tricks to try and teach BG not to abuse his privilege of using the truck. Adam tricked him into thinking the truck was stolen, and BG would have to find it. When that didn’t work, Adam turned every light and appliance in the house on until BG brought the truck back. BG still didn’t learn his lesson, so one day Adam had had enough and started a fight with BG. Unfortunately, Adam was not much of a fighter, so he got beat up pretty bad. Nevertheless, the two of them forgave each other and put their differences aside. After that, they had a new respect for each other, BG never took Adam’s truck without asking, and, as a result, their relationship flourished. When his parents’ health became an issue, Adam figured it was time to start heading back towards home. His mother, who never needed help from anyone, was struggling with reoccurring cancer. Even though his brother and father helped her with errands and drove her to the hospital, she did not have anyone to lean on financially because she and her husband were divorced. Adam would be able to get a job with the Fast Company in Raleigh, but it would not be the same for him. As he was packing up his things, he reflected on his time in Charleston. As he began his journey home, he realized that he had accomplished his goals, experienced a new way of life and made several friends along the way.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Celia - Organizer # 6

The emphasis on those main points is totally justifiable in the sense that they have a drastic impact on Shepard's lifestyle.
First of all, a new character, BG is introduced on chapter 13. He is going to be Shepard's roomate, and it will change many things. Indeed, added to the fact that they room up together, they also start working together. It is complicated to do both at the same time, and it degrades their relationship. Adam and Derrick's relationship - that Adam absolutely adores - will also receives the repercussions of BG's arrival. I triangle is formed. However, BG and Adam's relationship keeps going up and down, there is a lot of drama.
Also, I chose to put an emphasis on the house, because it is a very big accomplishment in Shepard's process, only after 6 months. It was his last goal to achieve. Indeed, by that time, he already had a job, a car and the money he was hoping to have after a year ($2500) It is an important feature because it is the moment when he proves that social class mobility is available, and the American Dream still alive.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Matt - Voc Chapters 13 &14

Perpetual- occurring continually (pg. 169)
Contentious- exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes (pg. 170)
Expediate- to speed up the progress of (pg. 171)
Na├»ve – lacking experience and understanding (pg. 177)
Entourage- one’s attendants or associates (pg. 181)
Amoire- a usually tall cupboard or wardrobe (pg. 183)
Perturbed- to disturb greatly in mind
Ramifications- something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions (pg. 190)
Tirade- a protracted speech usually marked by intemperate, vituperative, or harshly censorious language (pg. 190)
Escapade- a usually adventurous action that runs counter to approved or conventional conduct (pg. 191)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nick - Quizzer Chapters 13 & 14

At the beginning of Ch. 13 Shepard moves from Mickey’s attic to a duplex. The attic space cost 400 per month and his new living arrangement cost $325 + utilities. He also had to deal with a roommate that did not share his same enthusiasm about keeping the house clean. Was this a good choice on his part?

Derrick’s cousin, BG, joins Shepard and Derrick’s moving crew. However, he does not have the same work ethic and pulls the other members down with him. If you were in Shepard’s position would you take any action or just deal with the added burden?

Shepard goes home for Christmas break to visit his family. Do you think that this is fair taking into consideration that he is supposed to be living as if he had nothing? He did make up a life that his mom was a drug addict and his father left him. Was the Christmas break trip home a vacation from the world he was trying to live in?

Shepard is around seven months into his project. Is he on track toward completing the goals he set out to achieve?

Sophia –Summary Chapter 13-14

BG (Bubble Gum)-He is Derricks cousin and he is living with Adam.
Chris- The owner of Fast Company.
Derrick- On Adam’s moving team and good friends with Adam.
Bonesy- A friend of Derrick and BG.
Mizz Sully- The person that they moved and it took eighteen and a half hours.

During the months of October to the beginning of December BG, Derricks cousin, lived with Derrick. But Derrick said that he could not live there anymore because his daughter wanted her room back. Adam was looking to rent a new place and he needed a roommate so he asked BG if he wanted to live with him. Adam decided to move out of the place that he was renting from Mickey. However the place that he decided that he wanted to rent was in much worse condition. So they offered to clean it for the realtor if the realtor provided all of the supplies, which the realtor gladly did. BG was much better at the fixing of this ten Adam was, so Derrick came over once in a while and helped Adam pick up his slack. Adam wanted the master bedroom so he offered to pay $325 a month rent and BG could pay $275 a month. They did not start out with much furniture but since they were both working at Fast Company they would take all of the stuff that the owners did not want. Soon their place was fully furnished. In December Derrick had told Pam one of the people at the Fast Company that Adam needed a raise. Adam did not think that he was able to ask for one yet. But he did get a raise his pay checks when from $9 an hour to $10 an hour. Adam was able to go home for Christmas; it was the first time that he saw his family in five months. He got to spend a couple of days with them and catch up. Then he had to return so that he would not be late for work. The first electric bill that they received was for $209, BG was furious because he does not like to spend his money on those things. So from then on he went around the house turning off all of the lights, even at night when Adam was trying to cook. The January light bill was down to $125 which was more like the normal. Adam got a membership for the East Shore Athletic Club which cost him less than $43 a month. Adam and two new guys had a huge move that took them eighteen and a half hours to move. It was for a lady named Mizz Sully. BG started to take Adams truck more and more and it was making Adam mad. Derrick moved so he was no longer living next to Adam and BG. In January just 11 days shy of his six month anniversary and he already had $2,514.36 in his account. He was way above schedule but he still was shopping at the Goodwill and buying whatever food was on sale.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Journal #3

Matt Baker, Celia Joachim, Sophia Secraw, Nick Vickroy

Journal #3

Adam Shepard’s experiment was important and there are important lessons to take from it. He was searching for the American Dream and he essentially found that it still existed. However, related to his overall experience, we think that it is unlikely that everybody could achieve what he did, in nine months. He had a very positive attitude, and always very focus on his goals. Using this focus, he was able to be employed, find an apartment and buy a car all within nine months. He exceeded his own expectations. He was ambitious and didn’t let little things discourage him. A problem with generalizing this experiment is that he has a unique personality. In the book he used his personality to his advantage and was able to come out ahead. He also was a white athletic male. He states in the book that this did play a part in getting the jobs that he did, whether it was the temporary employers or Fast Company. He was in the prime of physical ability, which worked to his advantage when doing the tiresome labor. His stamina, acquired from basketball and being physically fit, allowed him to work at jobs that paid decently well but required a lot of physical labor. This would not be the case for every person. The majority of the people in the homeless shelter he visited were older than him. He successfully proved that he could capture the American Dream, but we are not sure if everyone would have the same success.

This book was not too lengthy, and easy to read. The weekly vocabulary assignment was a more difficult job because Shepard uses common words. It definitely was easier than other books we have read. If we ever did come across a more complicated word, we could usually guess the meaning due to the context. The book was a little over 200 pages long and had 16 chapters. Each chapter was not extremely long which made it comfortable to read. We thought that the subject was intriguing so it wasn’t something that we were struggling to finish. It turned out to be enjoyable to read. The book was not full of other people’s information or statistics. Compared to “My Freshman Year”, for example, Shepard used only a few statistics. The ones he used were broad and easy to understand. Most of his results were from firsthand experience and personal knowledge. In the introduction to the book, Shepard said that he is not a writer by trade. This made the book easy to understand because he used everyday words for the most part.

On the other hand, Shepard reported some dialogues exactly as they were spoken. There was a lot of slang that sometimes could be hard to understand when he wrote about the conversations he had at the shelter.

The main point of this ethnography was to see if the American Dream was still alive. In the introduction of the book, Shepard references, Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch, by Barbara Ehrenreich. He notes that these books were about the death of the American Dream and that this book was a rebuttal. Although it was mainly about the American Dream he encountered and was accepted into many subcultures along the way. The homeless subculture was a big deal to him because it was very different than the way he was used to living. He also was part of Fast Company, or blue-collar workers. To get a background of where Shepard was coming from a person could read Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich. To find information about the American dream the internet is a good source. Typing in American Dream to a search engine will bring up plenty of results. Many people write about it, including its history. For information about homeless a person could look up statistics. The statistics could show the demographics of homeless in certain regions. Also how long they live in the shelters and if they find employment. The same goes for any other subculture. Look up statistics to find some information. Information about the author can be found on his website. He also has clips on YouTube and his own Facebook page.

Sophia - Organizer #5

On one of his moves they end up going to a house the lady does not have anything packed up. While they were taking things out and Adam knocked over some chairs and 100 lbs steel plate landed on his toe. He ended up breaking his big toe and was on bed rest for five days. When he finally got to return to work he started out with different odds and ends jobs around the office like phone calls, filing papers, and other office duties. But he talked about how it could have been worst like it could have been his leg and then he would have been off of work for two months instead of two weeks. After working at the Fast Company for awhile he had saved up enough money to move out. He moved to an apartment that was owned by Mickey, a friend of his Sunday employer, and he had to pay $100 a week for rent. His first partner at Fast Company fired, so after that Adam got partnered up with Derrick Hale. Derrick was known for his strength, quickness, stamina, and knowledge. Adam and Derrick became very good friends.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Celia - Voc Chap 11 & 12.

Chapter 11.

A hassle (p.136): a fight.

To hobble (p.137): to limp along, to move with difficulty.
To be whisked (p.137): to be whipped off. Here, to be put back at a regular mover status.

A drag (p.138): something annoying.

Hindsight (p.139): perception of the nature of an event after it has happened.

Eerily (p.140): mysterious, strange.

Plight (p141): commitment.
Complacency (p.141): self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual
dangers or deficiencies

Stamina (p.142): endurance.

Demeanor (p.146): behavior towards others.

Chapter 12.

Awe (p.156): an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime.

Hefty (p.158): heavy. Here, expensive.

To be stiffed (p.162): to be cheated on. Here, it is used as being abused about the tips.

The pecking order (p.163): the hierarchy.
Idle (p.163): lacking worth.

Albeit (p.164): Although.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Quizzer- Chapters 11 &12

Q: When Adam Shepard breaks his toe working on the job one day, why does he consider himself fortunate?
A: He realizes that he is fortunate for a number of reasons. Adam has roughly $1500 saved up in case anything unexpected comes up like losing his job. He realizes his boss is tolerant of the injury, so he will not get fired. He feels fortunate that he only broke his toe and not his leg; if he had broken his leg, he could be out of work for a few months instead of a few weeks. Also, his injury was covered by his insurance.

Q: Why did Adam Shepard decide to write his bus driver a letter and what was its significance?
A: Adam wrote his letter to the bus driver to show his gratitude, and he wanted to let the bus driver know he appreciated the simple task he performed everyday. Even though this letter was meant for one person, it could apply to thousands of people all over the world. Average people wake up everyday and perform above average feats; often, they live their lives without realizing the impact they have on peoples’ lives. Adam wrote his letter to acknowledge these people.

Q: Why did workers like “Sherman’s” Fast Company better than “Jed’s” Fast Company?
A: The workers of Fast Company said they felt like a family when under Sherman’s leadership. He motivated the workers and made them want to move furniture. He stood up for his workers if a customer complained, and he tried to help them out in financially hard times. Jed, on the other hand, hardly ever shows up at the company to interact with the workers. If a customer complained, all he cared about was making sure the paperwork got filled out correctly. The workers just did not like his lack of hands-on leadership.

Q: How was Derrick Hale different from Adam’s preconceived ideas and how did that contribute to their friendship?
A: Shepard thought Fast Company’s best mover would be tall and muscular; he was caught over guard by the rather normal looking man that was Derrick Hale. As it turns out, Derrick was the perfect blend strength, quickness, stamina, and knowledge; this is what made him one of the best movers. Also, he was very down to earth and not a jerk like some of the other movers. Adam was drawn to his expertise as a mover and Derrick’s laid back, always positive attitude. It was the start of a lasting friendship that Adam enjoyed.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nick - Summaries Chapt 11 & 12

Ch. 11

Adam is working at Fast Company as a mover. On a move one day he knocked over a big piece of metal and it landed on his toe, breaking it. This was unfortunate because he was about to move out of the shelter. He went to the hospital and was told to stay off it and to keep it elevated for 5 days. After the time was up he went back to Fast Company and did work around the office until his toe healed. His partner for the last few weeks, Shaun, was fired so he got to work with Derrick Hale, a legend at Fast Company. Derrick was the best at moving and everyone knew it but what amazed Shepard was that he was so humble. They got along and Hale suggested that they form their own crew, with another mover named Mike. Shepard moved out of the shelter after about 2 months of living there and into an attic at George’s friend’s house. He had saved up nearly 1,750 dollars and decided he wanted to purchase a vehicle. He negotiated at the dealers and bought a 1988 GMC Sierra S-15 truck.

Ch. 12

Shepard is still at his moving job. He talks about how the winter months are approaching and people were becoming more careless. The general manager, Jed, ranted about what needed to change within the company and told people to shape up or they would be fired. He goes onto explain that people at Fast Company do not think that Jed is a good leader compared to his dad who died in 2005. His dad, Sherman would back up the employees and was compassionate. Mike was condescending towards Shepard and Derrick told Shep that if they were to work together in the future Shep would have to talk to Jill about having Mike out of their crew. He did and was pleased with himself that Derrick truly wanted to work with him. At the end of the chapter he briefly talked about finding a roommate so he could move out of Mickey’s attic.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nick - Organizer #4

I focused on some main issues of the chapters that were assigned this week. In chapter 8, Adam Shepard talked about his views within the shelter. Everyone had an opinion, and rarely was someone afraid to express it. There would be intriguing topics discussed at dinner and many arguments, especially about current events. In chapter 9, he starts working for the moving company. It is a big deal to him because he has a decent wage and knows he will have work to do every day. In chapter 10, he explains a rough week that he had while he was staying at the shelter. His friend Marco decided to move out, his work partner who he was once friends with started getting on his bad side and he made a mistake when turning in a payment for the moving services and it was lost. This resulted in him having to dip into his precious savings for almost $150.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sophia - Voc Chapters 8 to 10

Complacent-(pg 104) pleased, with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation,

Demeanor-(pg 105) behavior

Eloquent- (pg 107) by forceful and appropriate expression:

Renege-(pg 108) to go back on one’s word

Cavalier- (pg 114) haughty, disdainful, or supercilious

Jaunt- (pg 114) a short journey

Enigma- (pg 116) a puzzling or inexplicable occurrence or situation

Eccentric- (pg 125) a person who has an unusual, peculiar, or odd personality, set of beliefs, or behavior pattern

Fallacy- (pg 126) a deceptive, misleading, or false notion, belief

Finite- (pg 128) not infinite or infinitesimal

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Matt - Summaries Chapters 8 to 10

Adam Shepard, like almost everyone, else was getting sick of living at the shelter. Verbal fights were very common place as frustrations grew. That Friday was no different, but Shepard was determined to see Curtis McNeil about getting a job as a mover. Previously, he had not had much luck with him, but today, he was armed with a new attitude that he learned from Phil Coleman in the previous chapter. Shepard learned that the key to finding a good job as a homeless person is to be assertive. Adam went to Fast Company and gave Curtis the speech that he had rehearsed over and over again. It was risky for him to be that bold, but his assertiveness paid off and, he landed a job as a mover. On Monday he showed up for his first day of work; it was a small job, but it was his training session. Shepard’s fellow workers soon realized he may not be one of the strongest movers, but he was definitely one of the most dedicated. Soon, Adam was assigned to a permanent crew; he began working with Shaun Caldwell. Even though Shaun’s personality was the exact opposite of Adam’s they made a good team moving furniture. Shaun’s aggressive attitude landed the larger, better paying jobs, and they both worked with such determination that many jobs did not take more than a few hours. After a few weeks, things started to go down hill with Shaun. He became very irritable and working with him became a chore. He began complaining about all the things that were going wrong in his life, and it was starting to drag Shepard down. To make matters worse, money from their last job was missing. As a result, Adam had to pay $143.50 to make up for it, but hopefully, things would soon change for the better.

Matt - Organizer # 3

This illustration describes Adam Shepard’s search for a well paying job. He spent countless hours on the streets of Charleston, South Carolina looking talking to employers about potential job openings. Generally, he had little success; one day he listened to a man named Phil Coleman that had a sure fire way to land a good job. One must be assertive and make the employer feel like it would be a mistake not to hire you, and if one employer turns you down there are many other opportunities out there. This was the message that helped Adam Shepard successfully find a job.

Nick - Voc Chapters 6 & 7

Gristly p74- Composed of or containing gristle. Gristle-tough stringy animal tissue found in meat.

Odyssey p77- An extended adventurous voyage or trip.

Queries p77- A question; an inquiry.

Monotony p78- Uniformity or lack of variation.

Epiphany p 78- A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.

Tenure p83- A period during which something is held.

Adversity p 84- A state of hardship or affliction; misfortune.

Journeyman p91- An experienced and competent but undistinguished worker.

Synonymous p91- Having the same or a similar meaning.

Schmoozing p93- To converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sophia - Quizzer Chapters 6 & 7

Q: In chapter 6 Adam is told by some people at the shelter that he needs a different pair of pants because he is starting to smell. He decided to go to the Goodwill, what did he think of it? What kind of items were there? What did he get there?
A: Adam believes that the Goodwill is for everybody no matter whom you are whether you are rich, poor, fat, skinny, ugly, or pretty. Almost everything there can be bought for under $3. There was more then clothes there, they also had furniture, books, and lamps. He used his voucher and got two pairs of pants and two shirts.

Q. They said that it was never boring at the shelter that there was always some kind of conversation going on. Most night there was arguing, what kind of things did they talk and argue about?
A: They would have some general conversations about what happened during the day and about the new people that came to the shelter. But the most entertaining things would be the arguing. They argued about anything and everything that they could. There were never any dull topics.

Q: What is the cigarette trade? Why would Adam want to become part of it?
A: The cigarette trade is like a social event. It is not only a smoke break but a time to talk to others, learn things, and trade items. Things that were traded were cigarettes, clothes, and pretty much anything else that could be traded. Adam wanted to become a part of the cigarette trade because then he would find out about what was going on and become accepted in the shelter faster.

Q: What was Adams meeting with Kazia like?
A: It started out that she was 25 minutes late, because she was with a different client. They talked about why he was there and what his family was like. Although she probably did not believe him because he was stuttering with some of the questions that he did not rehearse; some of those questions were about the kind of drugs that his mother was taken which was Methamphetamine, and that his brother was taking care of her. But she her job was just to help him make a plan to get out of the shelter.

Celia - Summaries Chapt 6 & 7

Chapter #6: Hustle time.

On chapter 6, it is the first time that someone makes a remark about his appearance; indeed, one of the residents suggests Shepard to go buy a new pair of pants, supporting the thesis that “if you can smell yourself today, someone could smell you yesterday.” Shepard goes to Goodwill, a place where you can buy used pieces of clothing. At first, since he had money, he was thinking about getting several pairs of pants or shorts but he wondered who he had to impress… And he ended up buying only one pair. I think that it is a strong statement, because he has the money to buy more and look better but he doesn't derives from his priorities and rather save his money.

This same guy talked to Shepard about a moving company called Fast Company. He is said that they hire people and pay them $8 per hour, plus the tips, and there is no previous experience required. It sounds very appealing to Shepard, so he goes there, hoping to have an interview or so, but he only gets a chance to fill in one more application. He is really upset and frustrated about this application process.

In this same chapter, Shepard emphasizes a lot the way he feels at the shelter. As we read, we can feel that he has his landmarks and feels “home.”He has friends there and his routine. It doesn’t sound as bad as it could be. He thinks that the residents are “some of the funniest, wittiest guys” he has ever met.

Shepard takes part in a new activity: cigarette trade. He bought a $6 carton and sells cigarettes 25 cents apiece.

By the end of the 6th chapter, Shepard is affected and upset because it is the 5th night in a row that he has no news from any company. He wonders if it is the job market is really bad or if it is a time of recession, but all he knows is that he desperately needs a job to survive.

Chapter #7: Job Hunting 101 with Pr. Phil Coleman.

The seventh chapter starts with Phil Colman, one of the residents, saying that today, he will get a job...

Shepard on his side, still has no news from Fast Company, and goes working to a car wash job. He makes $38, which is a big difference compared to his last experience at the infant clothing store.

After his day of work, Shepard has an appointment at 5pm with Kazia, who is his caseworker, and he has heard before that she is one of the best, even though she ha sbeen working there for a few months only. Together, they go through budgeting and other techniques to be back on his feet as soon as possible.

Wednesday night, Shepard leaves a message on the voice mail of Fast Company, regarding any job openings. He doesn't have any answer, so as he did the day before, he goes to work at the car wash. He discusses with Phil why he cannot get any job. Phil gives him some advice and acts the way Shepard should behave when he is looking for a job: "Look here, homeboy. You need me. I'm the best worker you're gonna find, so hire me or not." Phil explains that he should be assertive, go and make the managers see that it is a mistake not to hire him.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Celia - Organizer #2

Those chapters were very interesting because it is the real beginning of something, Shepard starts to rise up. He accepts any kind of jobs, and sacrifices a lot in order to make some money and have an acceptable cash income. At the meantime, he starts being accepted which is very important. He starts making friends and really appreciate the camaraderie, that he will be missing a few chapters laters when he moves out. Shepard proves that he wants to get out of there, that he truely desires better living conditions. People around approve that behavior, and solidarity emerges.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Matt - Voc Chapters 2 to 5

Intuition- a quick and ready insight (pg. 19)
Contingent- dependent on or conditioned by (pg. 20)
Rhetorical - concerned with mere style or effect; related to using language effectively (pg. 24)
Awry- off the correct or expected course (pg. 25)
Pro bono- being, involving, or doing professional and especially legal work donated especially for the public good (pg. 32)
Regimen- a systematic plan (pg. 33)
Cordial- warm and sincere, friendly (pg. 37)
Moot- open to question; subjected to discussion (pg. 44)
Discourse- verbal exchange, conversation (pg. 51)
Altruism- unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others (pg. 64)

Nick - Quizzer Chapters 2 to 5

Q: In chapter 2 Shepard experiences employment with EasyLabor Inc. After reading about the working conditions, if you were in his same situation would you do temporary jobs or look for a part/full-time job?

A: When I first heard about the temporary jobs, I thought it was a good idea. At I would be making money. I think that it was important for the first few days that Shepard went out and made some capital so he could buy a towel, shirts and pants. The working conditions were very tough, and being physically fit really worked out for him in that case. I would probably do the same thing that he did and earn some money with the temporary jobs. Then try to find a full-time job after I bought some necessities.

Q: In chapter 4 when the work crew is done at the baby clothes store they are asked by the manager to open their bags. Do you think that they were treated that way because they were temporary employees? Would you have done anything different?

A: I think that their appearance and the fact that they were temporary employees did cause the manager to think about trusting them. It would be easy to sneak something into a backpack and walk right out of the store. If I was in the manager’s position I may have done the same thing. Of course she was not nice to Shepard and the crew the whole day, so I can see where they would be angry at her if she asked to see their bags. If I was the manager I probably would’ve laid down some ground rules as soon as they got there and said, “Before you leave I will ask you to show me the inside of your bags.” This way the employees know that it is a policy from the start.

Q: Some people at the shelter seem to like it there while others want to get out immediately. Would you stay at the shelter to save up money or as soon as you had enough would you move out?

A: For me it would depend on the people and the conditions of the shelter. The shelter that Shepard stayed at had a curfew at nine o’clock. This alone would want to make me leave as soon as possible. I would just like to be more independent. However, I would stay for a period of time until I knew that I could afford rent. That way I would not find myself back in the shelter after I left.

Q: In chapter 5, Shepard talks about donating plasma. He says, “I was inviting the doctors and their assistants to have their way with my bodily fluids for a price. I was a plasma whore…” What is the difference between donating blood and donating plasma. Does it make you a “whore” for receiving money for your donation? If you were in his situation would this be a source of income for you?

A: When people donate blood they are not compensated with money. Plasma differs because donors do receive a substantial amount for the amount of time that is spent donating. I guess it depends on how someone would define the word “whore,” but whore or not I would definitely donate plasma if I was in a situation like his. It would be an extra $60 a week and that would add up to $240 a month for a total of 8 hours of “work”.

Sophia - Summaries Chapter 2 to 5

Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5

Omar- One of the people at the shelter that Adam became friends with. He is close in age to Adam, had father troubles, and is very popular.

Ann- The person at the shelter that makes sure that everybody is up and out of the shelter when they need to be. She is very strict and does not care if people like her or not.

Ms. Evelyn – Was the person that spoke to people in the orientation.

Kazia- Adam’s caseworker.

George- A neighbor to the construction site that Adam was working at on his first Friday and the person that hired Adam to work for him for 6 Sundays.

Larry- Another friend who found a job on an online site as a garbage man, and his plan was to be out of the shelter within a week.

Easy E- Had taught Adam how to wash his clothes in the shower with a bar of soap so he could save money on laundry.

Chapter 2

On the first day at the shelter he was suppose to go to the orientation, but he was offered a job so he asked if he could go to the orientation the next day. They allowed him to go to the job. The first job that he got was on that Sarge warned him not to take. It was one that was through temp agency. The agency said that some jobs would pay them $10 an hour but the normal was $6-6.75. His first job was a construction job where he worked for six and a half hours and received about $5 an hour. After his day at work he went back to the shelter and listen to many stories from all the people there.

Chapter 3

This chapter is about his orientation and his caseworker. He found out during his orientation that there are many services given to people at the shelter. Some of these services include lawyers, nurses, doctors, and caseworkers. Ms. Evelyn is the person who assigned him to his social worker. She gave him three pairs of socks, a water bottle, a bar of soap, and discount bus tickets to ride for $0.50 instead of $1.25. The caseworker that Adam was assigned to was Kazia. She is working on a master degree at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. After all of the discussions and orientation Adam went to work for Ken at a construction site. After working there he met George who offered him a job on Sunday. After his long day of work he decided to take a shower. It was his first shower since he arrived at the shelter.

Chapter 4

He got a job of hanging up baby clothes at a new mall, because there was going to be opened soon and they just received a new shipment. The ladies that worked there treated the homeless worker like dirt. After working for them they had said that they called the bus for them. After waiting for a while Adam went in to make sure that they called. He was mad to see them all eating off of a meat and cheese and sitting in the air conditioning, when they were extremely hungry and very hot. He got mad at the owner and told her off and went in and stole some bread and meat. After the bus came he went to get paid. After working for four hours there he only earned $14. Omar and Adam had talked of someday renting an apartment for $400 a month. One of his friends, Larry, landed a full time job as a garbage man and he was going to be moving out. Easy E, another friend, had taught him how to wash his clothes in the shower rather then pay for laundry.

Chapter 5

He went to work for George on Sunday, little did he know that he was going to be shoveling dog poop. When he was finished with that George gave him another job pulling out weeds. He paid him $40 cash for the four hours of work and gave him a sandwich because he missed lunch at the shelter. George had many other weeds that still need to be pulled when Adam finished so he told Adam that he could come back. Adam figured that there would be enough weeds there to employ him for five more Sundays. Later Omar and Adam went to give plasma on the other side of town. Lots of people went there so that they could earn some extra money. They were told that they could donate twice a week and they would receive $30 each time. After a long day together Omar and Adam got to know each other a lot better.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Journal #2

Journal 2. Scratch Beginnings.
March 3, 2009.

The author of the book we are studying is Adam G. Shepard. Scratch beginnings is his only work so far. On a basketball scholarship, he went to Merrimack College, in North Andover, Massachusetts. During his time there, he began to take interest in social issues, which nurtured his desire to explore the American Dream, the premise of his book. He graduated in 2006 with a degree in Business Management and Spanish. Not having found a job, he thought that he was as close to down-and-out which set up the perfect time to try his experiment of whether or not the American Dream still existed (About the Author).

Adam Shepard’s intention was to see if the American Dream was still alive. In the book he states, “Socioeconomically speaking, my story is a rebuttal to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch…” (Shepard 3). These books deal with the idea that the American Dream is dead. He designed an experiment were he started out with a tarp, gym bag, sleeping bag, $25 and the clothes on his back. He explained that it would be success if he was able to have a working car, a furnished apartment and $2500 in cash. He would have “365 days to become free of the realities of homelessness and become a “regular” member of society.” Through his experience he would record his observations of the struggles that he encountered as he tried to improve his quality of life (Shepard 2).

He started with basically nothing with the hope of achieving a regular social status. His information is gathered through first-hand experiences. He is living in a homeless shelter for the time being. He is surrounded by actual homeless people who are trying to make their way in America. By doing this he is able to observe their attitudes and actions. This is an effective way of collecting information about the culture. He is accepted as one of them, because he has made up a story of his own. He has conversations with a few people at the shelter and learns a lot about their lives and where things went wrong. He participates in the same activities as his fellow shelter-mates. So far he has had to get around without a personal vehicle. He utilizes the public transportation system and rides from the labor agency. He works at temporary jobs and is trying to get a full-time job.

The way he gathers his information is very effective. He is not just an outside observer. He completely absorbs the role of a homeless person and is able to really experience the same treatments that they have. No one is behind the scenes doing him any favors; he has the same opportunities as anyone else in a similar situation.

The critics were mainly positive, but another one, kept our attention. Indeed, that person explained that it is probably easier for a White male in his early twenties to get out of a homeless condition than someone who already has a family or is from is from a different race. He also came from a Middle class family and had a college degree, with no health problems, or substance-abuse problems. This is not typical of most homeless people (Young).

Works Cited:

“About the Author.” Scratch Beginnings: me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream. <>.

Shepard, Adam. Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream.
Chapel Hill, NC: SB Press, 2008.

Young, Emily. “How accurately does Adam Shepard's experience reflect the American reality?” The Eagle-Tribune. 20 January 2008.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sophia - Organizer #1

Celia - Voc. Intro/Chap1.


Lethargy(p.1) : Abnormal drownsiness - lack of energy.
Demise (p.1) : Death.

Tarp (p.2) : Tarpaulin = A covering or canvas coated with a waterproof canvas.

A rebuttal (p.3) : An opposition.

Feats (p.4 ) : A deed of unusual daring.
Greed (p.4) : Excessive desire for wealth.


Scuffy (p.6) : Shabby.

Tattered (p.8) : Torn.
Retaliating (p.8) : To return life for like.
Vagrant (p.8) : A wanderer.

"The NAGGING barks of dogs" (p.9) : the ANNOYING barks.
"A list RIDDLED with..." (p.9) : A list PUZZLED with.

" He seemed BEWILDERED" (p.10) : He seemed CONFUSED.

To be huddled together (p.11) : To be close.
Endeavor (p.11) : Earnest effort.
To chime in (p.11) : To join in.

To plead (p.12) : To offer an excuse.
To holler (p.12) : To yell.

Warehouses (p.13) : Building where goods are stored.
Witty (p.13) : Cleverly funny.
Demeanor (p.13) : Outward behavior.

Wisecrack (p.14) : Facetious (joking) remark.

Sissy (p.15) : An effeminate boy.
To be mesmerized (p.15) : To be hypnotyzed.
To squander (p.15) : To spend wastefully.
Spiel (p.15) : A talk.
Bums (p.15) : Vagrants.

To scoled (p.18) : To use abusive language.
Sturn (p.18) : Strict/severe.

Stench (p.19) : Offensive smell.
Splochy (p.19) : Stained.

Tenures (p.20) : condition under which someone is held.

Matt - Quizzer : Intro/Chapter 1

Q: In the beginning of chapter 1, why is Adam Shepard frustrated?
A: Adam Shepard is frustrated with all the complaining and the lack of motivation that many young people exhibit. He finds it disappointing that many Americans talk about how good it used to be and how bad it is, today. Another problem that irks him is that many people have terrible attitudes; they focus on “I don’t have” instead of “Let’s see what I can do with what I have.” His response to these frustrations is to prove you can start with nothing and work your way to the top.

Q: Is Shepard’s frustration from question one justifiable?
A: Yes, He has every right to feel frustrated with poor attitudes many Americans have. In America, there are many different ways to succeed in life. If you are not good at one field of study or occupation there are other opportunities out there for you to utilize. Also, America makes it possible for almost anyone to get a quality education, so lack of education is rarely a problem for Americans who have a desire to succeed in life.

Q: Why do many American have stereotypes about poor people and about homeless people?
A: Many stereotypes about homeless people arise from the fact that they are misunderstood by many Americans. Many people see them as bums on the street who do not want to contribute to society. While this may be true for some, Most of the homeless are people experiencing extremely hard times. Most of them would work if they had the means to find a job, and many of them are trying to move up in society; they just need a little help from everyone around them to accomplish this.

Q: Some critics suggest that the results of this book are skewed because he is a white man in the prime of his life; do you think this will significantly affect the results?
A: No, I do not think the fact that Shepard is white and in the prime of his life will significantly affect his findings. Many of the jobs he has done thus far could be completed by almost anyone in reasonably good shape. What’s more important is his good work ethic and his never quit attitude. This is what will determine if his study will be a success or not.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Nick - Summary Intro/Chapter 1

Main Characters Intro:

Adam Shepard: Author

Intro: Shepard talks about how he is frustrated with the lack of drive in the younger generation. He decides “to start almost literally from scratch with one 8’ x 10’ tarp, a sleeping bag, $25 and the clothes on my back” to see if he can make it. It has been a thought since he was in high school and now fresh out of college he is very close to only have the items mentioned in the list above. To have success in his experiment, after 365 days he must have an “operable automobile, live in a furnished apartment, (alone or with a roommate), have $2500 in cash, and, most importantly I have to be in a position in which I can continually improve my circumstances by either going to school or starting my own business.” He states that he is not going to use any of his contacts or college education and must abide by the law, except for sleeping in parks or under bridges. He says that his story is about the “attitude of success” and whether or not the American Dream is still alive.

Main Characters Ch. 1:

Adam Shepard: Author

D: Guy who Shepard met at the bus stop and got into an argument with over people asking for money.

Sarge: Patrolman for the shelter

Ch.1 Shepard took the train from Raleigh to Charleston, NC to avoid having to say goodbyes and having his family watching out for him. The train arrived three hours late and it was pitch black. His first priority was to find a place to sleep. After talking to a police officer he began making the 8 mile trek towards the shelter. He found a bus stop where he ran into D, who he argued with. Before the argument came to a fistfight his bus showed up and he payed out $1.25 for the ride to the shelter, Crisis Ministries. He pounded on the door and there was no answer and a neighbor told him they only accept people from 7:30pm to 9pm. He met a man named Sarge that helped him into the shelter. He went through a shelter tour, ate some food and received a mattress to sleep on. He lied down and awaited the morning.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Journal #1

Scratch Beginnings: Feb. 24, 2009

Before we started reading, we knew that the book was about a college graduate that wanted to see if he could pursue the “American Dream” by starting with next to nothing. We didn’t really know anything about Adam Shepard, but as soon as we read the back cover, we felt a relationship through age. We thought that potentially we could be in the same situation, although probably not as extreme if we chose not to attend college. We would have to find a job without the skills acquired in college.
Today’s society tends to have stereotypes about the homeless but it is not possible to generalize. Some people don’t help themselves; some other cannot find enough strength to get out of this spiral. There is a relevant paradox that we’ve all witnessed; indeed, people complain about homeless people, but don’t necessary work or volunteer to help fighting this social issue. Even though it is easier now to find a minimum wage job in some fast food for example, there are also some people who are just too proud to work for minimum wage.
It would be interesting to see if in the USA you are trapped within a social class and can’t move out of it easily. I think it is going to be very exciting to see if Shepard can overcome the challenge of starting out with nothing. We think that it will be interesting if someone from the lowest social class could work their way up through American society.
Is the “American Dream” is still a reality or an uncatchable ideal? Is going to College the only solution to get a chance to reach this ideal of life? We all have heard from friends, teachers and family that the way to succeed is to go to college. I think it would be interesting to see how far someone could get without a college education. There are some extraordinary examples of high school or college dropouts such as Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple) along with countless musicians and professional athletes. These people obviously have very special talents that lead them to success but I would like to know how far an “average Joe” could get.

We all chose the book “Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream” because we thought that it would be interested. The back made it sound like it was a fun book and relevant to us now. We felt like it would be interesting to see what his out come would be whether he achieved his goal of $2500, a car, and an apartment within a year, starting with only the clothes on his back and $25. We also wanted to know what he was going to do to achieve his goals and if it would be an actually thing not like he was able to go home and get a fresh change of clothes or money for food.

It is significant because we are wondering what it would be like if we finished college and can’t get a job in the bad economy. This topic is significant because of the failing US economy. Many people are losing their jobs and homes. There will be more people out of work and possibly more people left with nothing but $25 and the clothes on their back. It is a way that can help show us that if that happens to us, we can still get out of that situation and back to a better one.
This topic is relevant to me in the sense that just as Shepard, I started “all over again”. Of course, it is not in the same context and definitely as extreme, but after I messed up my freshman year in College in France, I took a year off school to think about what I wanted my life to be about, what truly matters. Here I am now, 20 years old, starting a brand new degree in another field of study, in another country – It is a big challenge to me, and Shepard’s story could be inspiring for that matter.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Intro to Scratch Beginnings

Thursday, March 12, 2009.
Introduction to Scratch Beginnings.

Our group is fortunate enough not to be directly involved in the homeless subculture. Indeed, we are four students, going to College, living either at home or in the dorms, we don’t have to worry about our next meal or a place to sleep.

We can observe that subculture in many places, and it can be very disturbing. Since being in this situation is not the norm, many people tend to avoid them. Some cross the streets, some others walk faster to pass them, and some just ignore them. Also, during the day, most of homeless people beg and sit on the ground – there is an inferiority concept.

CJ: I have never being involved in volunteering for homeless people, not because I don’t care, but because it is easier to close my eyes on that subculture than any other. I feel guilty when I pass by some homeless people, because I have never had to worry about my survival; never had to worry about money, bed or food. I feel guilty because I know that it is not giving a dollar that will change their way of life. Moreover, I feel more willing to help some homeless people in the poor areas of Africa or Asia for example, because they don’t have the resources at all. In a part of the world as developed as Europe or the USA, I think it would be easier to get out of this condition. It might sound unfair, but it is the way I feel. I would rather spend my summer volunteering in Africa than serving soup for homeless people here or in France. As I am writing, I realize that is discriminatory, but the goal is to be honest and this is what I would rather do, which does not mean that I would not help at all.
It is easy to have stereotypes about that subculture like “they don’t try hard enough because you can achieve whatever the mind conceives.” However, I think there is a moment when they lose hope, and faith. We shouldn’t judge, their lifestyle is already hard enough.

NV: I, like most people, if not all people at this college have never been homeless. I am a white male from a middleclass family that grew up in America. I have learned or have been told through other people and society that I can become whatever I want. There are so many doors of opportunity in my future. I really have never given the thought of being homeless too much attention because of how far I am removed from it. I have a loving family, and if that didn’t work out I would be able to find other family members or friends that would help me out.
I come from a small town and I am really not used to seeing homeless people or bums. I have been to California a couple times over the last two years and my perspective really changed. When I was in LA, it really was intriguing to me to see people that lived on the streets. I remember seeing people with shopping carts piled high with, what appeared to me to be, junk. These people were sleeping in bushes in the middle of the day and oblivious to the hustle and bustle all around them. When I was in San Francisco, I visited the Golden Gate Park. Although the park does have plenty of visually stunning natural beauty, an image that I remember must vividly is all the homeless people. It looked like a camping event, except more grim. In this one area there were about 20 people all sleeping on the ground. Some had sleeping bags, others had blankets and some just had the clothes they were wearing. I was stunned by the fact that people had to live that way. Here was a big group people sleeping outside with next to nothing as tourists and locals passed by to enjoy a bountiful picnic in the park.
My personal biases towards the homeless may be wrong but I don’t think that the majority try. My experience is that with hard work people can achieve their goals. I really can’t see how people end up sleeping in bushes.

SS: I have never really had many personal experiences with the homeless culture, but my parents went to Hawaii and saw many homeless people. At first my mom thought that there were just people camping on the beach because it was covered with people, after looking closer she realized that they were all homeless people. It was a shock to see all of the people that did not have homes and were just living out of boxes. After that she started to notice them more and more and just on the beach.
Many times homeless people are there because they are too lazy or just not motivated to get out and get a job. However some of people there are trying to get out, but due to some financial or medical reason they are in the shelter. I will try to go into the book without any biases because I do not have a lot of background information about the topic and I want to learn more about it.

MB: I have lived in the country all my life, so I have not had much contact with the homeless culture. As a result, I do not have a good understanding of that subculture. I have developed some biases because I have not had enough contact with them. I had always thought that most of them just did not want to help themselves and get out of poverty. I figured they used most of the money they got to go buy alcohol or drugs. In reality, I think a lot of them are just experiencing a hard time in their life, and they need someone to them get back on their feet. As I am reading this book, I will have to keep an open mind and try to imagine myself as a homeless person trying to work my way out of poverty.

Just as many other subcultures that we don’t belong to, it is easy to close our eyes, either because we feel uncomfortable or awkward because we fear differences. The book will help us knowing more about that subculture, and will probably change our way to look at homeless people and even motivate us to volunteer for example.