Evicted

by

Matthew Desmond

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The Courthouse Symbol Analysis

The Courthouse Symbol Icon

The courthouse where eviction hearings take place is adorned with the slogan Vox Populi Vox Dei, which means “The voice of the people is the voice of God” in Latin. This slogan belies the reality of what happens inside the courthouse in an extreme way. Most of the time, the courthouse is a place where tenants receive confirmation that they have no power in the face of landlords and the law. Indeed, this disparity of power is reflected in the demographic makeup of people in the courthouse. The lawyers and bailiffs are usually all white, whereas most of the tenants who come in for eviction hearings are black women. These demographics reflect the racial and gender injustice at the heart of the problem of eviction. Poor black mothers face (at least) triple discrimination in the housing market, and are thus overrepresented at the courthouse, a symbol of the perversion of justice that exists in America today.

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The Courthouse Symbol Timeline in Evicted

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Courthouse appears in Evicted. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8: Christmas in Room 400
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
...Sherenna evicts her. The court date she receives is December 23, and she knows the courthouse will be packed. Many parents choose to fall short on rent rather than disappoint their... (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
A group of landlords’ lawyers sit together in the courthouse. Like the bailiff, they are all white. There are tenants of all races waiting to... (full context)
Chapter 11: The ‘Hood is Good
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
...recent eviction and debt to a landlord are on Doreen’s record. Doreen goes to the courthouse for her eviction hearing reluctantly. She rarely leaves the house, and currently has a foot... (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
...were not capable of remembering to pay the mortgage and need extra help. At the courthouse, Sherenna tells Doreen that if she wants to stay, she will have to pay an... (full context)