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Thoughts and Arguments from The Mole
People by Jennifer Toth
Josh Kikta, Noah Myrent, and Stephen Nelson
The Mole Who?
   Book investigates the many homeless living
    under New York’s surface
   Toth studies and interviews a variety of
    people who live in the tunnel
   Through this the audience learns many
    perspectives about the homeless and
This is why…
   Many of the characters introduced feel that
    they have no other choice but to live in the
   This is due to a variety of reasons such as
    drug use, loss of job, homosexuality, running
    away from home, and mental illness
   These people would like to get out of the
    tunnels but are unable to manage an escape
In a tunnel?!?!?
   A majority go below the surface for the
    general safety and to get away from the
   Some are able to find a community in which
    to live
   Others are simply avoiding the rules, the rape,
    and the loss of freedom in shelters
This is my home!
   Some of the people have chosen this lifestyle
   “…we’re better off down here without the
    perversions of the world upstairs. I need no
    man to validate me or my existence.”
      -The mayor from J.C.’s community (Toth
Life is better down here
   In J.C.’s community under Grand Central
    Station all of the members have chosen to live
   They do it for the security of being in a
    community with social services, such as a
    food supply, a nurse, a laundry service,
    showers, and a school for the children
   They don’t have the worries of police,
    homeless advocacy groups, gangs, or any
    other opposition to their choice of lifestyle
Damn the man!!!
   The escape from the norms of society is one
    of the major advantages of these underground
   “You always hear those loud, ugly voices
    telling you you’re doing something wrong
    because you’re not doing it up there…[but]
    Fuck the people on top!”
       -The mayor from J.C.’s community (Toth
   The underground dwellers view surface life
    almost as an evil entity
   “A creature of the city has no fixed place
    among the social classes; he lives in holes and
    crevices, burrowing beneath the visible
    structure of society…the underground man
    hates still more-hates more than his own
    hateful self-the world aboveground.”
       -The mayor from J.C.’s community (Toth
…and then there’s Bernard
   Bernard graduated from the University of
    Maryland and worked as an assistant at CBS
    and also modeled before getting heavily into
   His new life of drugs and alcohol eventually
    led him underground
   “Found this place and never turned back…I’m
    down here for me. People don’t understand
    that.” –Bernard (Toth 104)
Better off helping ourselves
   “This Coalition for the Homeless is just
    bullshit. Red tape and litigation. They are
    procrastinators. They thrive on the homeless.
    Without us, they wouldn’t have jobs, and they
    know it.” –Bernard (Toth 99)
   He feels homeless advocacy has nothing to do
    with helping the homeless. It is simply an
    effort to help and never an effort to cure the
    problem completely. If there were no
    homeless they would become unemployed.
Personal Peace
   Bernard finds that in the tunnels not only does he
    find peace from getting away from surface life but
    also feels people can find personal peace
   “And there’s peace in the dark. I sit here at night at
    the fire with a pot of tea and just the solitude of the
    tunnel. I think what I’ve discovered down here is
    that what one really seeks in life is peace of mind.” –
    Bernard (Toth 105)
   The escape from daily life and escape from the
    reality of above helps many to justify there
    underground choice
Supporting Reviews
   "Mole People" is a very real and grasping book, it is
    a book that makes you think. I read Mole People for
    a class and found it to be one of the best books I
    have ever read. Toth reveals a wide range of
    characters from the underground tunnels of New
    York. From victims, like the two girls from Iowa
    who are now drug addicts. To survivors like Bernard
    who looks out for others when no one else will…”
    Anonymous Review from
   "Mole people" are the thousands of homeless people who live
    in the subway, railroad, and sewage tunnels of New York
    City. Drawing on her interviews with these tunnel dwellers,
    who speak candidly and demonstrate their humanness,
    journalist Toth pulls the reader into this nether world,
    revealing lives of addiction and abuse. She also portrays
    people who try to help, including a woman who teaches the
    children and a kind man known as the mayor who does all he
    can to help others survive. In providing a historical
    background, Toth informs the reader that living underground
    was not always considered "inhuman." - Kevin Whalen,
    Montville Township P.L., N.J.
Toth, J. (1993). The Mole People. Chicago: Chicago Review
Whalen, K. (1993) Montville Township Public Library, N.J. Reed
    Business Information, Inc.
(2000). Editorial reviews from Amazon. COM. Retrieved March
    5, 2005 from
All pictures retrieved March 5, 2005 from The Library of

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