I’ve been considering how it affects a person to lose their home as a result of foreclosure, extreme weather, or otherwise. In my dirge essay, I touched on how Lear and Leah were impacted by losing their homes in King Lear and The Turner House. Fortunately for me, I have no personal experience with losing my home, so this post will be pulling mainly from the readings.
From what we’ve read, Leah seemed to react to her foreclosure with some measure of numbness to the point that she immediately seemed almost apathetic to the loss of most of her possessions. She was not ready to move in with her siblings, which seemed mostly like a matter of pride, so she instead turned to her empty and beaten up old childhood home while she attempted to figure out how to gather some money together. From reading about Leah, it may be concluded that housing loss can result in shame and guilt. Leah didn’t want to tell most of her family that she lost her home, and she also felt embarrassed that she was unable to provide for her daughter.
When Lear left the shelter he had originally expected to be provided by his daughters, he also got a taste of homelessness. Lear faced off with the storm outside and reacted to his state of homelessness with anger, as well as what seemed to be attacks of senility. Lucky for Lear, he eventually reunited with Cordelia and his housing dilemma was resolved (which ended up being relevant for not much longer, since he dies not much later). For people nowadays, however, the stakes are a little different, even if the emotions are still relevant.
As it works in contemporary America, the loss of one’s home seems like a marker of a pitfall into a cycle of poverty and debt. If one is forced into foreclosure, then their credit score goes down, insurance goes up, and finding a new home becomes more difficult (landlords like to look at credit scores when deciding who to rent to). Poverty strongly affects one’s emotional well-being, along with their physical safety and health. Learned helplessness is a condition associated with poverty, and this condition makes it difficult for someone to improve their situation and socioeconomic status. I found an article that applies the psychological impact of learned helplessness to poverty and offers some suggestions for overcoming it. I’m including this here because losing one’s home is no simple matter. It doesn’t happen quickly, and people don’t recover from it easily. People become attached to their homes, so even if someone loses their home for reasons other than financial ones, then they still lost a big part of their life.