Strangers in Their Own Land

Strangers in Their Own Land

by

Arlie Russell Hochschild

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Strangers in Their Own Land can help.

Harold Areno Character Analysis

A 77-year-old Cajun man whose family has lived off the land at the Bayou d’Inde for three generations. He is Annette Areno’s husband and Janice Arenos uncle. Harold was a pipefitter at PPG and a church deacon; after PPG ordered Lee Sherman to dump toxic waste in the swamp, the Bayou d’Inde became horribly polluted, all its wildlife and trees died, and Harold and his wife Annette got cancer. Harold is deeply religious and would like to see stricter environmental restrictions but has no confidence they ever will be; accordingly, he votes Republican because of his faith. Eventually, the government does take limited steps to clean up the Bayou, but construction starts on a giant chemical plant just on the other side of their house. The Arenos strongly believe that they will be saved in the Rapture (the evangelical Christian belief that Jesus will carry away all Christians to heaven at the end of times).

Harold Areno Quotes in Strangers in Their Own Land

The Strangers in Their Own Land quotes below are all either spoken by Harold Areno or refer to Harold Areno. 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:
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the The New Press edition of Strangers in Their Own Land published in 2016.
Chapter 3 Quotes

The Arenos didn't simply remember the good old days of a clean Bayou d'Inde. They remembered against the great forgetting of industry and state government. This institutional forgetting altered the private act of mourning. And not just that. It altered the Arenos’ very identity. They had not left Bayou d'Inde. They were stayers. They didn't want to leave, and even if they had wanted to, they couldn't afford to. The polluting companies had given them no money to enable them to move. And the value of their house had now fallen, for who would want to live on Bayou d'Inde Pass Road, even in a home as beautifully kept up as theirs? The Arenos had become stay-at-home migrants. They had stayed. The environment had left.

Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Strangers in Their Own Land LitChart as a printable PDF.
Strangers in Their Own Land PDF

Harold Areno Character Timeline in Strangers in Their Own Land

The timeline below shows where the character Harold Areno appears in Strangers in Their Own Land. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3 – The Rememberers
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
Hochschild sits in the living room of 77-year-old Harold Areno, “a gentle Cajun pipefitter” who takes her through his old photo albums. He finds... (full context)
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
Now, all the bayou’s trees and most of its animals are dead. Harold and Annette live just downstream from the spot where Lee Sherman dumped PPG’s toxic waste... (full context)
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...out from the pollution: bullfrogs, fish, turtles, cows, chickens, goats, sheep, and even hogs (which Harold notes “can stand almost everything”). Hochschild compares the Arenos’ land to “the scene of a... (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...of the bayou’s animals die, but nearly everyone in the Areno family also developed cancer. Harold lists 11 cancer cases in his immediate family—he and Annette were the only ones to... (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Harold explains that the bayou is still getting worse—the Army Corps of Engineers dredged the toxic... (full context)
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
Harold suggests that the government tends to “overregulate the bottom because it’s harder to regulate the... (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
...to learn” that one of the Arenos’ co-plaintiffs is none other than Lee Sherman. As Harold walks Hochschild back to her car, he tells her that “the most important thing” is... (full context)
Chapter 6 – Industry: “The Buckle in America’s Energy Belt”
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Environmental activists—including Lee Sherman, Harold and Annette Areno, and Mike Tritico—helped out with the case against Sasol. But, before long,... (full context)
Chapter 10 – The Team Player: Loyalty Above All
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...colors, shapes and sizes. Janice is an accountant at a land management company and also Harold and Annette Areno’s niece. She “dresses Pentecostal,” without jewelry or makeup, and has a “direct,... (full context)
Chapter 15 – Strangers No Longer: The Power of Promise
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...Janice Areno and Donny McCorquodale were ardent supporters; Mike Schaff preferred Ted Cruz. Jackie Tabor, Harold and Annette Areno, Sharon Galicia and others Hochschild encountered were worried about Trump’s antagonizing personality... (full context)
Chapter 16 – “They Say There Are Beautiful Trees”
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Harold and Annette Areno open their front door in October 2014: Mike Tritico stands on their... (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
The last time Hochschild visited the Arenos, Harold told her that the water may be getting clearer. He gazed out over the Bayou... (full context)