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ANOTHER VIEW OF POVERTY FROM DOROTHY DAY - Catholic Worker odds & ends
October 21st, 2007
08:28 am

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ANOTHER VIEW OF POVERTY FROM DOROTHY DAY
"In later years, Dorothy Day wrote lyrically about the poverty she endured after she graduated and moved to New York to work for THE MASSES. The reverie is peculiar, since deprivation was no novelty to her. But a metropolitan writer's poverty was different from that of a working-class daughter. She could romanticize a life without money once she lived apart from tired women, dirty kitchens, and fussy children. Day's poverty was now worthy of the bohemian plot. Meals snatched on the fly from pushcarts after work or shared with fellow reporters in cheap restaurants (soup and bread for a dime), a cigarette smoked on the sly since it was still illegal for women to smoke in public--this was the stuff of fond memories. She moved from a room on the Lower East Side to share a spacious Village apartment with two men. But men as friends did not exact the domestic services from women that brothers and fathers did: Day's roommates' expectations were so relaxed that housekeeping itself became a model of cooperation. 'The rooms were large and well furnished and there was a good kitchen so that we could have supper parties, and even breakfast parties, everyone chipping in for the stew and the breakfast brioche.' "----from AMERICAN MODERNS, BOHEMIAN NEW YORK AND THE CREATION OF A NEW CENTURY by Christine Stansell, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2000

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