This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Hobos: The Great American Men Essay

2906 words - 12 pages

In America, money and material possessions are considered important yardsticks of success. Thus it comes as no surprise that people who do not share such values are looked down upon by society. Such people, especially those without a residence, are often called lazy and good for nothing. But perhaps worst of all, these people are typically lumped together under the generic label "vagrants" or "homeless." This is the greatest insult of all, for many of these individuals are not merely homeless or street people, but in fact hoboes. From their work ethics, to their personalities, to their motivation for living the transient life, the American hobo has always been a very different entity from the vagrant, tramp, or homeless.To understand the hobo one must first understand the origin of the hobo and his history. The word "hobo" has many different possible sources, many of which are characteristic of the hobo, himself. Some think that the term hobo was coined after the American Civil War, when many former soldiers were looking for work. Many of them turned to migratory farming, and became "hoe boys." Others believe that it referred to their movement after the Civil War, when they were "HOmeward BOund." Still others believe that the term comes from the Latin, "Homo bonus" or "good man" (Watman 8). All are possible origins, and all describe the nature of the American hobo. Whether it be his drive to work, his constant need for movement, or his being a simply "good man," the hobo has always been a facet of American history.The first recognized description of hoboes was after the American Civil War. They were usually former soldiers looking for odd jobs. Having been soldiers they were trained for vagabond survival. Vagabond survival is the ability to live without a base and without any kind of dependence (Kid 2). Some historians believe the former soldiers who later became hoboes did so because they felt disconnected from society, quite similar to Vietnam veterans (Joyce 256). These former soldiers also were tired of the strict discipline and structure of the Army and decided to pursue the other end of the spectrum and become wanderers. But they were not loners, far from it. Although they were not loners, they did prefer to associate primarily with their own. They usually congregated in a "jungle," their base camp. In 1869 there were an estimated 17,000 of these disaffected soldiers roaming the country. Many were constantly searching for short-term employment (Watman 17-18). They found great opportunities in the form of rebuilding the system of railroads in the South. From here they learned the ways of the rail. It became more and more common for hobo jungles to be located close to, or in, the train depot (Watman 48). These earliest hoboes set the mold by establishing the commonly- recognized four traits of the American hobo: vagabond survival, willingness to work odd jobs, self-contained sociability, and rail-riding (Watman 30-34).The next appearance of a...

Find Another Essay On Hobos: The Great American Men

The Great American Novel Essay

1178 words - 5 pages The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is “A Great American Novel”, because of its complexity and richness. Twain writes dialogue that brings his characters to life. He creates characters with unique voice and helps the reader connect to the book. Anyone who reads it is forced to develop feelings for each character. Even though there is a great amount of controversy over the use of some choices, such as the “n word”, it makes the book

The Great American Expansion Essay

1765 words - 7 pages pressured to become a law by groups of all regions. These groups included farmers, merchants and even the occasional railroad manager. The Interstate Commerce Commission had the right to investigate all railroad operations. With that said it became the first federal independent regulatory commission to have judicial, legislative and executive powers. The first American railroads started in the 1830s from the eastern ports of Boston, New York

The Great American Play

695 words - 3 pages audience. It is considered to be the “great American play. However, Our Town’s success is continually seen not just in the States, but also around the globe by being one of the five most produced shows in the world. One critic mentioned, “Indeed the play’s success across cultural borders around the world attests to its being something much greater than an American play: it is a play that captures the universal experience of being alive”. The play

The Great American Divide

1447 words - 6 pages In the October 10, 2011 issue of Time, there is a feature called “The Great American Divide” that reports on money: who has it, who is spending it on what, and how as a country Americans feel about it. This feature also reports something troubling, how the gap between rich and poor is once again growing wide (Sachs, 2011). Shifts in spending, shifts in money control, and a struggle with how to deal with the great money crisis

The Great American Cigarette

1827 words - 7 pages wrapped around some tobacco, but todays cigarettes is a very carefully engineered nicotine delivery system”(Hyde 17). Also the cigarette holds” Cigarette smoke contains over seven thousand chemicals, sixty-nine of which causes cancer” (Smoking ). some may ask themselves if something so ridiculous and causes death who made it or who got the great idea to mass produce it but in reality no one knows” No one really knows exactly when people started to

How are different versions of the American Dream portrayed in Of Mice and Men and The Great Gatsby?

2145 words - 9 pages The novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ was written by John Steinbeck, this novel was written in 1937 in America. The novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ was written by F.Scott Fitzgerald this novel was written in 1925 in America. Both of these novels revolve around the belief of the American Dream that people had during the period of America, that these novels were written in. In the novel ‘Of Mice and Men’, the two central characters Lennie and George are itinerant

The Great Gatsby and The Hollow Men

1142 words - 5 pages The Great Gatsby has been one of the classic novels of the twentieth century. It creates a unique society that makes the story such a masterpiece. Another magnificent work that relates to The Great Gatsby is T.S. Eliot's 'The Hollow Man.'; The lines in the poem portray the story so vividly that it should have been an epigraph for the novel. The poem's references to hollow and stuffed men, can describe different characters in The Great Gatsby

1492: When the Great Men Discovered Paradise

1691 words - 7 pages few great men and presenting Columbus as a confused, yet still heroic, figure. 1492: Conquest of Paradise needs to be watched and examined carefully as it contributes to the myths surrounding the Columbus and the Conquest. When history is portrayed in media it often focuses on the dramatic and great events and people from that time. This ensures that the most exciting aspects of history are shown and that the audience will associate the

The Great American Melting Pot

726 words - 3 pages The Great American Melting Pot PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT 1 THE GREAT AMERICAN MELTING POTThe Great American Melting PotStudentSchoolIn the BeginningDiversity in the media began in the 1960's with the television series, Star Trek. The different races found on various planets represented the diversity of cultures present on our own planet. The mainstream media really began to focus on the multiculturalism within the United States, though, in the 1970

The american dream - great gat

1190 words - 5 pages The "True" American Dream In his novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald paints a vivid portrait of life in the Jazz Age. Taking place in between World War I and the Great Depression, people during this time were all trying to achieve their own version of the American Dream. If it meant becoming rich as quick as possible, or the old fashioned way, everyone had their eyes set on the same prize, money. People would do anything to get it and

Great Gatsby: The American Dream

740 words - 3 pages The Great Gatsby: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties The Great Gatsby is a tale told by Nick Carraway, about the Roaring Twenties. In this story it shows how dreams can conquer and corrupt people’s common sense and good judgment. Throughout this book the main theme is the “American Dream”, and how the goals of society sometimes affected what the character did to accomplish their American Dream. In this story the chasing of the American Dream led

Similar Essays

Three Great Men That Embodied The American Dream

1759 words - 8 pages American dream was the most emphasized was during the industrialization period. During this time, a man would want to have a good job and make money in order to support his family and home. A poor kid who lived in the slums would want to work hard and have perseverance in order to build up from the bottom and make the dream a reality. Three men that came to mind that worked hard to have the American dream would be Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford

How Of Mice And Men And The Great Gatsby Reflect The American Nightmare

1123 words - 5 pages fall under it’s alluring curse, with an exception of a handful of people. What was given instead of this promise of wealth and dreams, what was given was the deterioration of dreams, and usually lives. Sadly, Lennie Small, from Of Mice and Men as well as Jay Gatsby, from The Great Gatsby was not the exceptions. To better understand Lennie Small, a poor mentally challenged farm hand’s dream, it would be a good idea to learn a few important

The Great Depression's Effect On American People Depicted In Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

629 words - 3 pages life was like for low-paid, poor workers and to show how the Great Depression effected American people. He represents what life was like for many unprivileged people in 1930s America: migrant workers, women and black Americans. Firstly, John Steinbeck represents the lives of migrant workers in his novel, ‘Of Mice and Men’. The lives of migrant workers were hard, challenging and unrewarding. Migrant workers suffered from poverty because they were

The American Dream In What’s So Great About America And Stupid White Men

1160 words - 5 pages pilot’s situation when he crudely utters, “Never, ever let someone fly you up in the air who’s making less than the kid at Taco Bell.” (Moore, 48) Moore, of self-admitted wealth, sympathizes with men that collect food stamps. These pilots, as well as the rest of Americans, are being robbed of our American Dreams by corporate minions that have been stockpiling income for the last, “two decades.” (Moore, 50) These same CEO’s and other suits are the