The Importance Of Homelessness In Ragged Company

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Finding Home


What defines a home? Some might argue that it is simply a place of residence, but the truth is, a home holds much more meaning than that of a physical building. A home is a place where you feel truly comfortable and supported by those who surround you. It is the facilitator of a healthy mental state. A question arises, then, of how health is affected by the lack of a stable home. In his book Ragged Company, Richard Wagamese discusses the topic of homelessness through the development of his characters. Amelia Onesky, Timber, Double Dick, and Digger are all self-defined “rounders”; they are chronically, and almost professionally, homeless. They have learned to survive on the streets with next to nothing. When they
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The key to feeling included in society is feeling respected by those who surround you. It was said, “The more you dehumanize someone, the easier it is to do terrible things to them,” (Storied Streets, 2014). This is often a challenge faced by those who are homeless, as they are often treated as outsiders. The documentary Storied Streets (2014) argued that many people “don’t think of [homeless people] as human beings anymore, [they] just think of them as bums” and suggested it is the reason why homeless people are more likely to be abused than those who are not homeless. Their argument agrees largely with research that indicates social exclusion can be attributed to health inequities. Like those without housing, visible minorities are often excluded by parts of society, and it has been found that minorities have a lower life expectancy and worse overall health than that of non-minorities (Stafford, Newbold, Bruce, & Ross, 2011). Homeless people are arguably the most marginalized groups in society, so the rounders’ health was certainly negatively affected by a lack of social…show more content…
As demonstrated by the characters in Ragged Company, finding a home is not as easy as signing a lease. Sometimes people search their whole lives before finding a place that they can truly be themselves and be celebrated for it. As Dick said, “When you make it home, everything that made life difficult out there disappears. You become whole. You don’t stutter anymore, you think clearly, your body’s not old and tired. You’re healed,” (Wagamese, 2009, p.376). Material wealth only marginally improved the health of the characters in the book, while coping with mental trauma and trusting their friendship was what actually improved their lives. Even after they obtained housing, the most important home the rounders had was the one they found in each

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