“Homeless” by Anna Quindlen

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“Homeless” by Anna Quindlen

  • Holt Literature p. 369
  • problem-solution essay
  • originally an editorial in the New York Times

Anna Quindlen

  • Author, journalist and
  • opinion columnist
  • Her column in the
  • New York Times, Public and
  • Private, won the Pulitzer Prize for
  • Commentary in 1992.
  • She left journalism in 1995 to become a full-time novelist.
  • In 1999, she joined Newsweek, writing a bi-weekly column until announcing her semi-retirement in the May 18, 2009 issue of the magazine.
  • Quindlen is known as a critic of what she perceives to be the fast-paced and increasingly materialistic nature of modern American life.
  • Much of her personal writing centers on her mother who died at the age of 40 from ovarian cancer, when Quindlen was 19 years old.
  • She has written five best-selling novels, three of which have been made into movies (One True Thing, Black and Blue, and Blessings).


  • anonymous- adjective – having no known name or origin; lacking qualities that make one different
  • legacy – noun – anything handed down from an ancestor or from the past
  • enfeebled – adjective – lacking force, strength or effectiveness; weakened

Characteristics of a problem-solution essay:

Author’s purpose – the author’s reason for creating a particular work The purpose may be to explain, to inform, to entertain, to express an opinion, to reflect, or to persuade readers to believe or do something.

  • Determining author’s purpose:
  • Sometimes the author’s purpose is directly stated.
  • Often, however, the reader must infer the author’s purpose from the author’s statements, words, details, and descriptions or from the themes of the work.
  • Make a two-column chart.
  • Notice which parts of the topic Quindlen focuses on.
  • Write down the author’s direct statements about the way she thinks or feels about the topic.
  • Note words and details she uses to describe the topic.
  • Think about what these elements of her essay tell you about her purpose for writing
  • Writer’s direct statements, descriptions,
  • words, and other details
  • What these details tell me about the author’s purpose
  • She introduces a homeless woman by name, emphasizing that this woman has a name and is a human being like any one of us.
  • She wants people to look at homeless people as individuals.
  • Quindlen uses the word “met” instead of saying she “saw” the woman.
  • “I’ve never been very good at looking at the big picture, taking the global view.”

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