The author supports the idea that everyone seeks a sense of longing, and that without that belonging life has little meaning. However, the author also challenges some conventional understandings of belonging by showing that belonging can come from any situation, and is not just limited to a particular place or person. This is conveyed through the different perspectives of Billy, Old Bill and Cattail showing their gradual sense of belonging with one another and to important places.
This particular discovery of belonging in Bill’s situation includes finding belonging in his place and his friends. “We both sit staring at the beer and the sunrise, sharing the hobo our. ” (Billy – Page 49) This new sense of belonging for Billy is contrasted by Old Bill who found a renewed sense of belonging; a sense of how he can belong in a world in which neither his wife nor daughter do. And I realized as I walked home that for a few hours I hadn’t thought of anything but how pleasant it was to sit with these people and talk to them. (Old Bill – page 125-126) Steven Heroic explores how having a sense of belonging changes someone and develops their personality. This is mainly explored through Cattail’s character. Cattail feels misplaced in her own life; rich in possession to in life. The Simple Gift was written as if she was moving through the motions of life and didn’t stop to appreciate her life until she met Billy and Old Bill. This explores the fact that you can think that you belong but not really belong until you meet someone or something happens.
These are ways that Steven Heroic explores the traditional boundaries of belonging. Traditionally, society has had structured attitudes towards homelessness and this theme is thoroughly explored in The Simple Gift as two of the main characters are living homeless. The author acknowledges that socio tends o have a negative attitude towards homelessness and in Billy’s point displays this as a negative attitude towards himself. “limb not proud. I’m sixteen, and soon to be homeless. (Billy – page 3) The author links attitudes towards homelessness to belonging in a way to results in Billy’s belonging coming from being homeless; he belongs more as living homeless than he ever did living with his dad. Steven Heroic questions the stereotype of homelessness by introducing characters such as Cattail and Old Bill. Cattail expresses a commonly thought stereotype in the verse which describes the meal that she coked for Billy and Old Bill. “l almost laughed when they arrived. The two neatest hobo’s I’d ever seen, with their hair combed, slicked back, and their faces rubbed shiny clean. (Cattail – page 1 22) When Old Bill is introduced into the story, we do not know how he became homeless but it is later explained that he cannot stand to live in house without his wife and daughter, who both died within a year of one another. This challenges the stereotype that all homeless people spent all their money on drugs and alcohol, and that this caused them to live homeless. This is another way that Steven Heroic explores the traditional and conventional boundaries regarding society attitudes towards homelessness.
The Simple Gift explores the prejudice that people living homeless have imposed upon them in society. The prejudice towards homelessness is often the preconceived idea that they are not intelligent or they are not valid in today’s society; it is often the belief that they have a mental illness. Cattail shows this kind of prejudice in the verse after seeing Billy with Old Bill. All can think is that seeing Billy with that old bob made me think of Billy as a hobo and I was ashamed, ashamed of myself for thinking that. (Cattail – page 1 16) This shows that despite Cattail’s relationship with Billy, she was afraid to see Billy as a hobo like Old Bill; she didn’t want to believe someone she was close with could turn out as a hobo. Steven Heroic dismisses the idea that all people in society believe this and that all people living homeless are not like this. Characters such as Ernie and Irene who do not display traditional prejudice towards people living homeless. “Hey kid, get auto there. You’ll freeze to death. That’ll teach you to hitch a ride with National Rail.
No free rides with this government, son. Just kidding. I hate the bloody government. Get your bag and come back to the Guard’s van. ” (Ernie – page 1 2) This shows that Ernie has non-traditional views about people living homeless; he sees them as people who just need a helping hand. The other prejudices are explored in this book such as all people living homeless are alcoholics; this is explored through Old Bill, who is introduced as an alcoholic, and shown through his transformation from run to sober.
The prejudice towards people living homeless is another way Steven Heroic challenges the traditional thoughts about homelessness. Steven Heroic pushes the boundaries and challenges the traditional ideas and thoughts towards homelessness. He uses themes such as attitudes towards homelessness, a sense of belonging and homeless prejudice to convey his take on society views and opinions. The Simple Gift challenges its readers to reconsider their thoughts about homelessness and offers a new perspective on the traditional ideas and thoughts on the topic.