... nothing seems completely to differentiate the poor but poverty. We find no adjectives to fit them, as a whole, only those of which Want is the mother. "Miserable" covers many; "shabby" most, and I am sadly aware that, in a large majority of minds, "disagreeable" includes them all.
...I remembered the rose bush that had reached a thorny branch out through the ragged fence, and caught my dress, detaining me when I would have passed on. And again the symbolism of it all came over me. These memories and visions of the poor--they were the clutch of the thorns. Social workers have all felt it. It holds them to their work, because the thorns curve backward, and one cannot pull away.
The daily lesson of slum life, visualised, reiterated, of low standards, vile living, obscenity, profanity, impurity, is bound tobe dwarfing and debasing to the children who are in the midst of it.
If, in all the cities, every house that is past repairing could be pulled down or burned up, how great would be the crash, how heaven-high the conflagration. It would be a veritable crack of Doom and glare of the Judgment.
One of the saddest sights of the slums is to see the thrifty wife of the working man, with her rosy brood of children, used to country air and sunshine, used to space, privacy, good surroundings, cleanliness, quiet, shut up amid the noise and dirt and confusion, in the gloom of the slum.