Shannon Payne, UMass Amherst
Shannon Payne is a PhD candidate in American Studies, writing about contemporary (1990-present) representations of human homelessness in literature.
Transcendent Sex: Humanizing the (Fictional) Homeless Body
In the novels and memoirs about United States homelessness published after 1990, authors deploy sex as a way to demonstrate the readiness of a homeless character to reintegrate into a more legitimate life. The pattern I see developing in contemporary narratives of homelessness serves to yolk those who have once been categorized as non-human animals, diseased outsiders, addicts, insane, and generally the physically untouchable -- with citizens. In these unions, the homeless are transformed: they "belong" again, or for the first time.