Evicted

by

Matthew Desmond

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The North Side Symbol Analysis

The North Side Symbol Icon

Milwaukee’s North Side is the predominantly-black part of the city. Milwaukee is an extremely segregated city, and the North Side thus suffers from the problems associated with racial segregation: poorer facilities and resources, a high concentration of crime, high eviction rates, and so on. Most tenants profiled in Evicted, regardless of their race, consider the North Side an undesirable place to live, and so it acts as a symbol for the worst part of the city, where victims of eviction often end up. The white tenants who live in the trailer park have a particularly intense aversion to the area, and this emerges not only from their wariness of the North Side’s problems but from their own severe and irrational racism. Residents of Tobin’s trailer park fight with all their power for Tobin’s license to be renewed because they fear that if the trailer park passes into new hands, they could be forced to move to the North Side. Black tenants, meanwhile, are less irrationally afraid of the North Side. Many grew up there and/or have spent most of their life there—yet this makes them aware that the North Side is a drastically deprived and dangerous area. They do not share the trailer park residents’ racist views, but still want to live in an area with better safety and resources.

The North Side Quotes in Evicted

The Evicted quotes below all refer to the symbol of The North Side. 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 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:
Get the entire Evicted LitChart as a printable PDF.
Evicted PDF

The North Side Symbol Timeline in Evicted

The timeline below shows where the symbol The North Side appears in Evicted. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue: Cold City
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
...called the Lodge, where they remain until Arleen finds a house in the predominantly black North Side of Milwaukee. Although the house frequently has no running water, Arleen describes it as her... (full context)
Chapter 3: Hot Water
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
...park. Most of the residents were terrified that they’d be forced to move to the North Side . They hosted a barbecue for local media, during which they testified that Tobin was... (full context)
Chapter 20: Nobody Wants the North Side
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
...forty years imprisonment. Looking for an apartment, Crystal and Vanetta are desperate to avoid the North Side . They try a company called Affordable Rentals, which has a range of units at... (full context)
Chapter 24: Can’t Win for Losing
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Housing as a Human Right Theme Icon
Hopelessness and Lack of Choice Theme Icon
The new apartment is in an industrial district within the North Side , but it is clean, and everything functions perfectly. Soon after moving in, Arleen learns... (full context)
About this Project
Poverty, Exploitation, and Profit Theme Icon
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
...fully understand their lives. After spending time in the trailer park Desmond moved to the North Side , where he lived until June 2009. He asked to shadow Sherenna and she enthusiastically... (full context)
Inequality, Injustice, and Discrimination Theme Icon
Community and Interconnection Theme Icon
...little as possible. When residents of the trailer park learned Desmond was moving to the North Side , they warned him it was too  dangerous for a white person to go there.... (full context)