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Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

The Road to Wiggan Pier by Orwell

I read this several months ago, and the strongest memory I have now is Orwell’s description of visiting a coal mine and the physical agony involved in the kilometer (or more) long walk from the bottom of the shaft to the coal face. the passage would be 4 feet high, or less where the braceing came down and likely scraped your spine as you passed under it.

Also what I remember is Orwell’s description of the conditions of the boarding house that he stayed in; filthy eating conditions, bad food, rooms packed with beds, shared beds (either at the same time, or in shifts i.e. I sleep there while you work at night and you while i work at day), bedbugs, etc. What strikes me now that I think of it is the frightening similarity to the boarding house for ex-psychiatric patients in Toronto described by Pat Caponni in her book Upstairs in the Crazy House (which I comment on here)

Upstairs in the Crazy House by Pat Caponni

1366_Upstairs at the Crazy HousePat Caponni’s book on her experiences living in a boarding house for discharged psychiatric patients is a painful, uplifting, and ultimately very important book. Caponni displays with both subtlety and honesty the feelings and opinions that she held, and which changed so incredibly, during her time in the ‘crazy house.’ The feelings of fear, disgust, revulsion, etc., towards the other denizens that she admits to having felt upon her arrival, becuase of its honesty, makes her ultimate transition to the caring warden of these same people all the more striking and inspiring.

This book shows how easy it is to accept poverty when we don`t see it, when we succeed in hiding it away, but also how hard it is to not become a compasionate activist when we are forced to see it in an intimate way.

Peacock Poverty Launched

Peacock Poverty, a new website”by and for poor people” in Toronto was launched last week. So far the postings and the website itself are very impressive.