Evicted

by

Matthew Desmond

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Tobin Charney Character Analysis

Tobin Charney is the owner of the College Mobile Home Park. He is 71 and has a reputation for being firm but understanding. He tries to avoid evicting tenants yet is also ruthless about collecting rent, and often exaggerates the debt tenants owe him. He eventually sells the trailer park.

Tobin Charney Quotes in Evicted

The Evicted quotes below are all either spoken by Tobin Charney or refer to Tobin Charney. 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 3 Quotes

It took a certain skill to make a living off the city's poorest trailer park, a certain kind of initiative. Tobin’s strategy was simple. He would walk right up to a drug addict or a metal scrapper or a disabled grandmother and say, "I want my money." He would pound on the door until a tenant answered. It was almost impossible to hide the fact that you were home. It was hard to hide much of anything. Office Susie knew when your check arrived; she put it in your mailbox. And Lenny could plainly see if you had enough money to buy cigarettes or beer or a new bike for your kid but not enough to pay the rent.

Related Characters: Lenny Lawson (speaker), Tobin Charney, Office Susie
Related Symbols: The North Side
Page Number: 38-39
Explanation and Analysis:

You've got to wonder if the street people don't have the right idea. Just live on the street. Don't have to pay rent to nobody.

Related Characters: Larraine (speaker), Tobin Charney
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

When city or state officials pressured landlords—by ordering them to hire an outside security firm or by having a building inspector scrutinize their property—landlords often passed the pressure on to their tenants. There was also the matter of reestablishing control. The most effective way to assert, or reassert, ownership of land was to force people from it.

Related Characters: Tobin Charney
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Some landlords neglected to screen tenants for the same reason payday lenders offered unsecured, high-interest loans to families with unpaid debt or lousy credit; for the same reason that the subprime industry gave mortgages to people who could not afford them; for the same reason Rent-A-Center allowed you to take home a new Hisense air conditioner or Klaussner “Lazarus” reclining sofa without running a credit check. There was a business model at the bottom of every market.

Related Characters: Lenny Lawson (speaker), Tobin Charney, Office Susie
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

But for the most part, tenants had a high tolerance for inequality. They spent little time questioning the wide gulf separating their poverty from Tobin's wealth or asking why rent for a worn-out aluminum-wrapped trailer took such a large chunk of their income. Their focus was on smaller, more tangible problems […] Most renters in Milwaukee thought highly of their landlord. Who had time to protest inequality when you were trying to get the rotten spot in your floorboard patched before your daughter put her foot through it again? Who cared what the landlord was making as long as he was willing to work with you until you got back on your feet? There was always something worse than the trailer park, always room to drop lower.

Related Characters: Ned Kroll (speaker), Tobin Charney, Pam, Scott
Related Symbols: Hypes
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Evicted LitChart as a printable PDF.
Evicted PDF

Tobin Charney Character Timeline in Evicted

The timeline below shows where the character Tobin Charney appears in Evicted. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: Hot Water
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
The trailer park is owned by Tobin Charney, who visits almost every day of the week. He pays Office Susie $5 an... (full context)
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Housing as a Human Right Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
Tobin almost lost the park in May 2008, when his license for owning the park was... (full context)
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
Tobin rarely writes down the deals he made with tenants, and sometimes he exaggerates the debts... (full context)
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Housing as a Human Right Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
One of Tobin’s tenants, Larraine, receives SSI after a childhood fall resulted in learning difficulties. Around the time... (full context)
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Housing as a Human Right Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
...two grownup daughters and a grandson. Terrified by the eviction notice, she promised to give Tobin the final $400 in her bank account, meaning she would still owe him $150. She... (full context)
Chapter 4: A Beautiful Collection
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Housing as a Human Right Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
On the day of the council’s decision, Tobin attends court accompanied by his wife and lawyer. Tobin’s lawyer had, at the last minute,... (full context)
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
Alderman Witkowski, despite being “no friend of Tobin’s,” agrees with this last point and says that they should avoid forcing these vulnerable tenants... (full context)
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Housing as a Human Right Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
...for cheap units such as trailers. Even in the midst of the license renewal fiasco, Tobin’s trailer park still had a waitlist. As a result, landlords like Tobin have no incentive... (full context)
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Housing as a Human Right Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
After Tobin informs them that they are being evicted, Ned and Pam fight over whose fault it... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Sick
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
...thanks to Teddy’s medical expenses. After being served their eviction notice, the two men discuss Tobin. Scott suggests there’s nothing wrong with Tobin, but Teddy contends that he’s “purely an asshole.”... (full context)
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
Lenny, Office Susie, and Tobin all attend the Landlord Training Program together. The program coordinator, Karen Long, emphasizes the importance... (full context)
Chapter 9: Order Some Carryout
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Housing as a Human Right Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
Finally, Ruben reluctantly agrees to pay Larraine’s rent, coming to the trailer park to give Tobin the money himself. However, Tobin refuses to take it. The sheriffs show up within a... (full context)
Chapter 13: E-24
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
...in the trailer park in her brother’s trailer. Lenny and Office Susie are vital to Tobin. Alongside their administrative roles, they act as ambassadors, bringing the social divide between Tobin and... (full context)
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
Lenny often feels sympathy for the tenants, but at the same time Tobin financially incentivizes him to collect as much rent each month as possible. He works with... (full context)
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
Bieck give Lenny’s job to a 23-year-old college graduate who is “clueless and patronizing.” Tobin hires Mrs. Mytes to clean up a recently-vacated trailer, which is so disgusting its stench... (full context)
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
...this calculation assumes that every tenant pays full rent and doesn’t include bills and expenses. Tobin bought the trailer park for $2.1 million in the mid-‘90s, paying it off after nine... (full context)
Chapter 14: High Tolerance
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Housing as a Human Right Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
...the reason why many simply cannot believe that anything will eventually get better. Few question Tobin’s enormous wealth or connect it to their own deprivation. Their minds are overwhelmed by the... (full context)
About this Project
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
Desmond moved into Tobin’s trailer park in May 2008. Although he was in one of the nicest trailers in... (full context)