Evicted

by

Matthew Desmond

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Sherenna Tarver Character Analysis

Sherenna is a black landlord. She is married to Quentin, with whom she runs her business. Sherenna specializes in renting to people in the North Side, taking advantage of the fact that many white landlords are afraid to conduct business there. She is proud of her work and keen to expose the trials that landlords face.

Sherenna Tarver Quotes in Evicted

The Evicted quotes below are all either spoken by Sherenna Tarver or refer to Sherenna Tarver. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Broadway Books edition of Evicted published in 2016.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Sherrena saw all this, but she saw something else too. Like other seasoned landlords, she knew who owned which multifamily, which church, which bar, which street; knew its different vicissitudes of life, its shades and moods; knew which blocks were hot and drug-soaked and which were stable and quiet. She knew the ghetto's value and how money could be made from a property that looked worthless to people who didn't know any better.

Related Characters: Sherenna Tarver
Related Symbols: The North Side
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

Poor families were often compelled to accept substandard housing in the harried aftermath of eviction. Milwaukee renters whose previous move was involuntary were almost 25 percent more likely to experience long-term housing problems than other low-income renters.

Related Characters: Doreen Hinkston (speaker), Patrice Hinkston (speaker), Sherenna Tarver
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

When tenements began appearing in New York City in the mid-1800s, rent in the worst slums was 30 percent higher than in uptown. In the 1920s and ‘30s, rent for dilapidated housing in the black ghettos of Milwaukee and Philadelphia and other northern cities exceeded that for better housing in white neighborhoods. As late as 1960, rent in major cities was higher for blacks than for whites in similar accommodations. The poor did not crowd into slums because of cheap housing. They were there—and this was especially true of the black poor—simply because they were allowed to be.

Related Characters: Doreen Hinkston (speaker), Sherenna Tarver
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

"This moment right now," Sherrena reflected, "it’s going to create a lot of millionaires. You know, if you have money right now, you can profit from other people's failures. . . . I’m catching the properties. I'm catching ‘em."

Related Characters: Sherenna Tarver
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

In the 1960s and 1970s, destitute families often relied on extended kin networks to get by. Poor black families were "immersed in a domestic web of a large number of kin and friends whom they [could] count on," wrote the anthropologist Carol Stack in All Our Kin. Those entwined in such a web swapped goods and services on a daily basis. This did little to lift families out of poverty, but it was enough to keep them afloat. But large-scale social transformations—the crack epidemic, the rise of the black middle class, and the prison boom among them—had frayed the family safety net in poor communities. So had state policies like Aid to Families with Dependent Children that sought to limit "kin dependence" by giving mothers who lived alone or with unrelated roommates a larger stipend than those who lived with relatives.

Related Characters: Arleen Bell (speaker), Crystal Mayberry (speaker), Sherenna Tarver
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Evicted LitChart as a printable PDF.
Evicted PDF

Sherenna Tarver Character Timeline in Evicted

The timeline below shows where the character Sherenna Tarver appears in Evicted. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue: Cold City
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Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
...$628 welfare check each month. Upon their arrival Arleen’s new landlord, a black woman named Sherenna, drops off a large back of groceries, some of which are from the food pantry... (full context)
Chapter 1: The Business of Owning the City
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It is September 2007, still warm, and Milwaukee is buzzing with life. Sherenna Tarver drives through the North Side playing R&B. She does not take her Camaro to... (full context)
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Sherenna is short, with a loud, joyous laugh. Yet today she is not laughing, because she... (full context)
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When Sherenna and Quentin first met, it took three months before she let him take her out... (full context)
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Sherenna bought her own home in 1999 and shortly after purchased a second property to rent... (full context)
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Sherenna arrives in front of Lamar’s home and sees Lamar being pushed in his wheelchair by... (full context)
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Sherenna has faced a series of problems recently. Someone was shot in one of her rentals,... (full context)
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Driving away from Lamar’s house, Sherenna stops to check on a new tenant, a young mother whose baby is suffering from... (full context)
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Sherenna returns to the property with an eviction notice. An angry confrontation with the tenant’s mother... (full context)
Chapter 2: Making Rent
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Shortly after Sherenna’s visit, Lamar sits in his apartment playing spades with his sons and their friends. All... (full context)
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...basement of the building, a job he believed was worth $250, but in the end Sherenna only paid him $50. Even after selling his $150 worth of food stamps for $75... (full context)
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The next month, Sherenna attends a meeting of the Milwaukee Real Estate Investors Networking Group (RING) at an airport... (full context)
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...report asbestos to tenants or the city if it is detected in a rental property. Sherenna asks the next speaker, a lawyer, if it is possible to intercept a tenant’s tax... (full context)
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...the North Side, but most are scared away by the idea of collecting rent there. Sherenna sees this as an opportunity to make more money by offering to act as a... (full context)
Chapter 5: A Beautiful Collection
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...are in bed, enjoying having space to herself. A friend gives Arleen a cat, which Sherenna allows her to keep. The family call it Little; the boys love when Little catches... (full context)
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...van comes to confiscate the furniture in Arleen’s apartment, Trisha backs up Arleen’s lie that Sherenna had already taken it. Trisha invents an elaborate backstory about her friendship with Arleen, and... (full context)
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Trisha arrived in Sherenna’s building via Belinda Hall, a black woman who runs a business managing the finances of... (full context)
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Sherenna calls Arleen and reminds her that she owes her $320 for her sister’s funeral in... (full context)
Chapter 6: Rat Hole
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...sleep well, but the family love playing pranks on each other. After Patrice is evicted, Sherenna learns that she has been pirating electricity and insists that Patrice pay while she is... (full context)
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Having been served a notice, the Hinkstons rushed into the unit owned by Sherenna even though it was small and more expensive than their old place. It is common... (full context)
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...men. The Hinkstons’ apartment is starting to smell so bad that Doreen is considering calling Sherenna and Quentin. When they call about problems in the apartment, Sherenna places the blame on... (full context)
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...let tenants know about any problems. When Patrice complained about problems in her old unit, Sherenna gradually fixed some of them, but eventually got irritated. Patrice threatened to sue her, which... (full context)
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...decided to call a plumber herself and deduct the $150 he charged from her rent. Sherenna responded by evicting Doreen, who in turn chose not to pay her last month’s rent.... (full context)
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During Doreen and Sherenna’s dispute over the plumbing, Natasha realizes she is pregnant. Doreen and Natasha’s boyfriend, Malik, are... (full context)
Chapter 8: Christmas in Room 400
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After Arleen cannot recover from the debt she incurred from her sister’s funeral, Sherenna evicts her. The court date she receives is December 23, and she knows the courthouse... (full context)
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While mass incarceration disproportionately affects black men, eviction disproportionately targets black women. Sherenna has had eight eviction cases this month, but only one tenant showed up. Patrice went... (full context)
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...claims about what the evicted tenants owe them is usually just accepted as fact. Now, Sherenna shows the commissioner photos of her unit, claiming that Arleen damaged it far beyond what... (full context)
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Even so, Sherenna has a limited chance of actually receiving the money evicted tenants owe. Many of them... (full context)
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Sherenna has been considering hiring Rent Recovery Service or a similar company that will aggressively collect... (full context)
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...then sees a way to avoid landing her with an eviction record. She suggests to Sherenna that if Arleen promises to leave by the 31st, Sherenna dismisses the formal eviction. Sherenna... (full context)
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Arleen and Sherenna both leave the courthouse with headaches. Arleen has not eaten all day. Sherenna tells Arleen... (full context)
Chapter 10: Hypes for Hire
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After Lamar and the boys fixed up Patrice’s old apartment, Sherenna declared it a “motherfucking shitty-ass job.” Lamar begged her to allow him to finish the... (full context)
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...After getting released from prison and moving in with Trisha, Chris asked Quentin for work. Sherenna and Quentin have a long list of people who will willingly work for them, including... (full context)
Chapter 11: The ‘Hood is Good
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Quentin and Sherenna arrive back from their vacation in Jamaica. Sherenna has a voice message from the Hinkstons’... (full context)
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...is eager to move out of her crime-filled area. She has a housing voucher, and Sherenna and Quentin usually avoid taking on rent-assisted tenants because they come with “picky inspectors” in... (full context)
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...most rent-assisted tenants stay in similar neighborhoods as they would be in without housing vouchers. Sherenna knows the housing authority wouldn’t accept it if she charged Ladona the maximum rate, but... (full context)
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...was “defunded and declared a failure (in that order).” The new house Ladona wants is Sherenna’s “pride and joy,” more expensive than the other properties she owns. Sherenna has been buying... (full context)
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...a poor, black neighborhood is a terrible investment, but renting one out is a goldmine. Sherenna will make back the $16,000 she spent on the house Ladona will live in within... (full context)
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Sherenna has begun “dabbling” in rent-to-own schemes, in which she rents to a reliable tenant for... (full context)
Chapter 12: Disposable Ties
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...she can only turn to Merva in a real crisis, and this eviction doesn’t count. Sherenna brings the new tenant to look at Arleen’s apartment, and on hearing that Arleen doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 15: A Nuisance
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...eviction, even though she hates staying at shelters. She is under the false impression that Sherenna dismissed her eviction. That night, Crystal and Arleen hear Trisha being beaten upstairs. Arleen claims... (full context)
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The next day, the police tell Sherenna that they are charging her for repeatedly attending to “nuisance activities” in her properties, and... (full context)
Chapter 16: Ashes on Snow
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In February tenants receive tax credits and Sherenna’s income surges. Doreen has managed to clear her debt, but Lamar hasn’t, and is still... (full context)
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Quentin and Sherenna arrive at Kamala’s building to a chaotic sight. Groups of people are huddled around, some... (full context)
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The next day, the fire inspector tells Sherenna that Kamala’s father was supposed to be watching her girls, but likely left them alone.... (full context)
Chapter 17: This is America
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Sherenna decides to evict Crystal as well as Arleen. Arleen finds a new apartment, a one-bedroom... (full context)
Chapter 21: Bigheaded Boy
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Sherenna uses the insurance money from the fire at Kamala’s to buy two new duplexes. Kamala’s... (full context)
About this Project
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...moved to the North Side, where he lived until June 2009. He asked to shadow Sherenna and she enthusiastically accepted; she was “in love with her work,” proud of what she... (full context)