This essay will delve into various aspects of the film Dark Days by way of relating them to the broader social, cultural and political contexts.
Firstly, homelessness in the United States can be traced back a long way. The direct and circumstancial evidence for this is available in literary and performing arts of the last one and half centuries. Prominent among the artists who dealt with this subject are Walt Whitman, Jack London, Charlie Chaplin, Woody Guthrie, John Dos Passos, Bill Mauldin, Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck. In the early twentieth century slang, homeless people were casually referred to as hoboes, which is a term of denigration. These so-called hoboes had a reputation for being barbaric, wild, lazy and unscrupulous. The first detailed representation of these people living on the fringes of society started appearing after the end of the Civil War. We further learn that
“following the Civil War, a legion of men traveled the country with no visible means of support. Some earned the sobriquet "hobo," which they embraced it as a nickname for a migrant laborer, that is, a "hoe boy." Whatever the origin, sociologists of the 1920s used the phrase "hobohemia" to describe a subaltern lifestyle embraced by white working-class males. When congregating in places such as Chicagos "main stem," they forged a swaggering counterculture that defied domesticity. They embraced the labor radicalism of the Wobblies, even while they were parodied by vaudeville and motion picture comics.” (Lookingbill, 2005, p.314)
During these early days, homelessness in the United States was largely an issue of social class and was caused by the huge disparities in wealth distribution between the top ten percent of the population and the rest. But in the last century, the issue has grown to encompass factors of racial discrimination, drug abuse and homosexuality. Of the half a