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The Emotional Meaning of Home in Literature

Home has an emotional connection to each one of us: it is the place where we feel safe, where we grew up, where we go for security, and to find love. It means different things to different people, mostly sentimental and heart-warming. For example, Silas the dying old servant in Robert Frost’s “Death of a Hired Man” sees the home as the fortress where he wouldn’t have to lose his pride, a place he wouldn’t have to deserve, and yet not have to lose his dignity to please anyone.

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According to the book “What you Pawn I Will Redeem”, Jackson sees the home as the family place of gathering with his fellow Indian folks; a source of laughter and freedom, as well as of loving memories in a hapless world. The house occupant in the book “The Ballad of a Landlord” also attached a sense of comfort and security to the home where he expects comfort and love.

We see Silas, an old man, wasted and very ill, trudge back home to the farm where he once worked. You would expect him to go to his wealthy brother instead, but he has made his choice. He would have gone there and the brother would have welcomed him, but here he is, back to a landlord he had disappointed in the past, who is not ready to see him back again after Silas had broken a contract and run away to seek better pay. What brings him here? Somehow he feels he is going to find the honor he needs in his dying moments in the farm, and this is his notion of home.

Here he seeks redemption from this break of trust he had committed against Warren, having met his other expectations: service to his kin and community. Silas’ work in the farm had given him a sense of fulfillment and meaning that his life had lacked, having had nothing else to look to with pride or hope, and having not been particularly good at anything.

In place of the family he did not have and the brother he could not stand, Silas, finds comfort in these things for his dying day. His brother finds no place in his heart to forgive him and Silas would have had to give up his pride to please him, and this is of no appeal to him.

Jackson the derelict, homeless man in “What you Pawn I Will Redeem” sees the home as the place of gathering for the family and his fellow Indian folk; he often refers to Indians as loving to converge and he says, “Indians like to belong, so we all pretended as cousins”. He brings this out clearly in his reference to Big Heart’s, the all-Indian bar, where he finds fifteen other Indians and they readily go on to buy each other drinks. He begins with his generous offer of five drinks for everyone. He states that no one knows the reasons why the Indians move from one bar to the other and make the place an official place of drinking. Somehow Indians always find each other and even though they have no official residences, they are a family upon themselves.

Jackson looks at homelessness as something to relish, and when he proudly claims he is good at it you can tell that home to him is the fun and the jokes and the friends he lives within the parks and down the water.

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Jackson sets out on a quest to redeem his grandmother’s regalia. This is an emotionally driven connection with his grandmother, and the memories he harbors of her suffering, and eventual death from, cancer. He cannot stop imagining that her illness could have resulted from a broken heart after someone stole her regalia. Crazy as it seemed, Jackson finds his grandmother’s regalia at the shop and he feels compelled to get it back for her as if it would bring her back to life.

Jackson has a deep sense of love for his grandmother, he misses her. In his conversation with Officer Williams, he says “I’ve been killing myself ever since she died.” Most of his grandmother’s memories get across his mind and he further states that he smoked throughout as he thought of his grandmother. He went ahead to state that he had never seen his grandmother dance in her regalia. This is an important sentimental memory for Jackson, and though he describes his grandfather and parents, he does not sound as fond of them as he is of her.

Jackson’s refusal to tell the police and to try to redeem the regalia by hard work-or by luck is also a quest at self-redemption and restoration of pride. He wants to do it by himself, and this is his way of revenge against the thief who stole from his grandmother. This is best seen in the title of the story, which is a direct address to him.

In ‘The Ballad of a landlord’, the house occupant attached a sense of comfort and security to the rented home where he lives. He demands these from the landlord, to protect him from natural forces and the risk of injury. He has a strong conviction of entitlement to these rights as he sees them to the point he is ready to fight the landlord for threatening to evict him.

However, his attempts to assert his right gets thwarted by the landlord, who ignores his frequent pleas to have him, repair his rented home. The landlord frequently counters his pleas with claims of unpaid dues. On the day when he eventually vents his frustrations, the landlord is very quick to call the police on him. He then falsely accuses him of conspiracy against the government. The policy allows this frustration of the house occupant: they move in swiftly to arrest him based on just the landlord’s side of the story.

They do not even weigh the accusations of the landlord and do not stop to look around for justification for the tenant’s complaints. How do they fail to notice a leaking roof? Besides, do they have no trouble at all reaching the tenant through the broken stairs?

It is clear that in the end he has not been heard at all, and this leaves him legally defenseless against his charges. The police throw him in a cell and the charge that eventually comes up is false which is of threatening the landlord. The troubles of the poor tenant do not end there as he is quickly judged by the press who seem to take sides with the landlord and even go as far as racially accusing him as a Negro. You can predict that in the public eye he will stand no chance either and is convicted at the first sight of the headline.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, September 26). The Emotional Meaning of Home in Literature. Retrieved from


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