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Final Book Analysis – Evicted- Poverty and Profit in the American City

Final Book Analysis – Evicted- Poverty and Profit in the American City

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City is a non-fictional book following the struggle of eight families in their quest to pay rent during the 2007-2008 financial crisis. When the book begins, it is a premonition of how grim the rest of the book will end up being. Undoubtedly, the weather is snowy, the subsequent violent efforts to break into the apartment belonging to Arleen, and the ‘choice’ she has to make concerning her possessions are essentially aimed at creating the impression that, indeed, the world is unjust and dreary. After taking a reading of Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, it is hardly surprising that Milwaukee has emerged as the city that is the most segregated in the whole of America.  It shows numerous families facing eviction because they are African American, having children, and the discrimination meted on people for simply being poor. His illustrations portray a situation that shows how persons in the housing market are liable to escape the ramifications of discrimination, given that prejudice is rampant in the justice system.

Besides, it is crucial to understand that Desmond’s illustration of the families in this text and by showing how they live helps the reader analyze the discrimination and prejudice. Therefore, he can show his readers the notion of segregation in the city of Milwaukee right from the start of the text and his comparison of the Northside to that of the South. In this case, racism plays an essential role. In the text, the author says, “The Menominee River Valley cuts through the middle of the city and functions like its Mason-Dixon Line, dividing the predominantly black North Side from the predominantly white South Side,” (Desmond, 2016). In essence, therefore, the city is even geographically intended to be segregated. By saying even the children living in Milwaukee have grown up with the same prejudice from their environment. In the text, Arleen’s choices are virtually placed between a rock and a hard place. In this case, she has to choose between storing her belongings in an expensive location or having them on the sidewalk. She also has to choose between a place with no running water or a shelter for the homeless, a choice between living in a house that is essentially not intended for humans to live in, or living in a dangerous neighborhood. However, what is appalling is the positive attitude that shows her being as positive as ever and hints to the readers that she sees the dilapidated houses as her favorite.

In an effort to showcase the notion of racism, the author talks of people living in the trailers who have a strong fear that they could be forced to move to the other side, in the North. For instance, Desmond explains why Mary was in tears due to the fact that she may have to leave and go back to the black ghetto. The author mentions that social stratification ranks African Americans as being at the lowest, especially African American females. Arleen’s example suffices. When she goes for her eviction at the court, the lawyers of the landlords are all white.

Besides, it is also crucial to understand that several pages on, the author lets the readers understand that over seventy-five percent of people in the Milwaukee eviction court were predominantly black, and of them, approximately 75% of them were African American females. Still, in chapter nine, Desmond mentions a case of sexism by explaining the likelihood of men being more aggressive than women and the likelihood of being evicted, which could be quite efficacious.  In this case, the men offer their labor for rent money, while their female counterparts end up offering sex for rent. Discrimination in Desmond’s novel manifests more in the poor people. In this case, landlords often selected who they wanted as their tenants, which means that it did not include the poor, under the premise that they failed to pay up in time or failed to pay entirely. The most disturbing thing about this is that “…tenants had a high tolerance for inequality” (Desmond, 2016).

The text hints at how impoverished people are not able to escape injustice, which is largely prevalent in the community if they are incapacitated to think of the aspect of injustice being meted out to them. This trait manifests itself more in the poverty theory culture, which could essentially develop amongst the poor and thereby lead the financially ‘crippled’ to accept their situation instead of ameliorating their situation.

Nevertheless, the landlords in the poor regions of the North Side frequently profit from these communities where they literally have nothing to do with. A peculiar character, Serena seems to be more and more interactive with the neighborhoods where she handles her business in stark comparison to other landlords. It is also crucial to point out that just like her tenants, she is black, which contrasts with the numerous inner-city landlords.

Furthermore, the poverty in this city pushes even landlords such as Sherenna to push out their tenants who fail to pay. Also, the author of the texts shows an initial impression of this black tenant who does not seem greedy, heartless, or cruel in any way. In this case, the passage hints that she is made to commit an act that is vile of evicting a poor black tenant for failing to pay up because there are also bills that she needs to pay herself for the maintenance of her life. Therefore, the author makes it an exception because she is forced to do this to ensure her own survival. There is nothing personal about it.

In conclusion, it suffices to maintain that racism in this text takes center stage given that the physical barriers between the communities in the North and South Sides have firmly to do with race, as no race stays on the other side of the city.


Desmond, M. (2016). Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Crown.


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Paper Requirements: 3-5 pages (minimum is 3 full pages), double spaced, Times New Roman, size 12, 1
in margins, title page (not part of your written pages, should include name, date, class, name of

Final Book Analysis - Evicted- Poverty and Profit in the American City

Final Book Analysis – Evicted- Poverty and Profit in the American City

reference page (not part of your written pages; should include proper citations to references).
Include at least 3 scholarly articles in your analysis (CSUSM librarians are an excellent source of help).
Remember to use proper citing (APA/ASA).
In-text Citation Examples: ASA
1. According to Desmond (2016) …
2. “direct quotations, verbatim” (Desmond 2016:68).
3. The author’s argument suggests… (Desmond 2016)

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