Dicey's Song: Homelessness In Children

Powerful Essays
Homelessness in Children Homelessness in children is a serious widespread problem that causes vulnerability and anxiety in children due to the lack of stability in life. Children without permanent homes are also more susceptible to severe and chronic health problems. In the novel Dicey’s Song the journey of four young children who were neglected by their mentally ill mother and forced to fend for themselves is described. The plot examines the challenges the Tillerman children faced while being homeless, and issue that still exists today. Therefore, in the novel Dicey’s Song Cynthia Voigt explores the issue of homelessness in children, and issue that is still significant in today’s society. Dicey’s Song takes place in the southern Maryland…show more content…
Children born into homelessness can be at higher risk for infectious disease, stunted growth rate, and anemia. These deficiencies can be caused by environmental factors and poor nutrition(Hart-Shegos 2). In the novel, the Tillerman children all struggle to be accepted in school because of their obvious differences, likely caused by the time they spent homeless. They have experienced great hardships that they could not control, for example, their delayed development. This can be explained by, “Studies of pregnant women in New York City welfare hotels have shown their babies are twice as likely to weigh less than five pounds at birth when compared to all pregnant women. Low birthweight babies are at greater risk of blindness, deafness, brain damage, and even death”(Hyde 56). Taking this into consideration, homeless children’s academic performance is hindered because of their poor cognitive development and the circumstances of their homelessness, including constant mobility. Math, reading, spelling, and vocabulary tests are the tests that homeless children most often struggle to succeed on and likely result in being held back a year in school(Hart-Shegos 3). This can be seen in Dicey’s Song through Maybeth’s character and the difficulty she has to prosper in school. Maybeth continually struggles to learn to read and…show more content…
Voigt wrote her novel to share the story of four young children who faced an exuberant amount of challenges after being left homeless. Voigt wants readers to know that this is still an existing issue in many societies today. Homelessness can impede on physical, emotional, and academic development in young homeless children, similarly to the problems the Tillerman children experience throughout the novel. This has been a reoccurring issue around the United States because of certain events in the government and economy. Many homeless children become mentally ill due to the constant stress and trauma being faced. This is still a widespread issue today and is trying to be stopped through several different government acts. Through these acts, the social issue of homelessness in children can be
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