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Book Review
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Book Review Assignment: Own Or Rent A Home (Book Review Sample)



The writer Henri David Thoreau criticizes the lifestyle of the majority of Americans in his book Walden. In the book, David decries the emphasis that the American consumer places on finances and the expenditure of these resources, an act that he labels as desperate. David equates this form of living as slavery which condemns its victims to a life of looking for money instead of enjoying the simple things and wonders of life. The modern world is dominated by debts incurred as people strive to own a home and fulfill one aspect of their identity. This article investigates the relevance and applicability of the sentiments expressed in the book in the debates on the merits of being a house owner, the kind of lives one should lead and the type of house one should own.
The book opens by quoting the laws as stated in the Fifth Amendment of the US constitution on the rights to a private property ownership. The law emphasizes the right of every person to life, liberty, and property without the due process of the law. The constitution protects its citizens from forceful or unjustified evictions without compensation (Thoreau 251). This clause, however, allows the state to eject a person from private premises regardless of the owner’s conditions as long as the victim is compensated justly. Property refers to any item with the potential to be owned whereas private describes an individual. Ownership is a reference to the act of possessing a particular property.
Walden begins his book by giving a detailed description of how he built a simple cabin house in the woods using cheap and naturally-available materials. Thoreau (256) says that he borrowed some items of work such as an axe and estimates his total expenditure to be roughly twenty-eight dollars. The description of the trade-off indicates the simplicity with which one would acquire a house or get rid of one as opposed to today’s sophisticated market.
Research demonstrates that purchasing a home is an expensive venture that requires one to seek a financier and seek the advice of a consultant before embarking on the process. The banks usually need the interested individual to have at least one hundred thousand dollars or make a submission of the past three months of bank transactions indicating the inflow and outflow of money in which the particular person trades (Pollan 62). The banker, from whom the mortgage comes, considers such factors as the monthly income of the client. These measures are taken to give the potential client an excellent credit rating and are underpinned by factors such as honesty in tax returns. The lenders rely on this information to determine the amount of loans extendable to the borrower.
As Thoreau narrates on his experience living in the underdeveloped sections of the forest, the reader discovers that, despite the author’s attempts to depict his time in the woods as smooth, the life had its hardships. For instance, David explains the challenges he faced if it rained as he was baking his bread. These hindrances might have been considered, to a certain extent, acceptable in David’s time but in the present-day world, these instances would be found to be symbols of impoverishment. Thoreau (254) describes the moments covered under the boards while cooking as pleasant. One ought to have a decent kitchen under which one can prepare one’s meals without the disruptions of the weather.
A critical analysis of the writer’s perspective indicates a deep fascination with nature and therein a justification of David’s recommendations. David emphasizes the significance of a man building his own house and equates it to the act of a bird making its own nest. The author is disappointed that humans live like cuckoos and cowbirds that rear their young ones n other birds’ nests hence the lack of poetic advancement as is in the bird kingdom. The author claims that an artist would prefer the beauty presented by the cheaply-assembled log huts to the new hollow architectural ornaments.
David explains that the renting a house is more expensive than owning one, explicitly alleging that a student who wants a permanent residence can acquire one at a lower price than the rent that he or she incurs paying annual rent. These are computations obtained from the comparison between the writer’s cost of erecting his house- twenty-eight dollars- and the thirty-dollar rent paid by students at Cambridge College (Thoreau 256). In addition to the high rent, the occupant also has to bear with the constant noise and nuisance from the neighbors in the nearby apartments. The rise in population and hence the demand for housing has rendered a scenario without neighbors nearby unthinkable. The land has become a scarce resource, and only the extremely affluent can afford to own large tracts of land hence live in seclusion.
Recent research agrees with the opinion expressed in the book, saying that if one is in apposition to afford the payments, it is recommendable to proceed with the purchase rather than opt for monthly rent payments (Morici 1). These findings put into consideration factors such as insurance, deductions on income taxes, and property taxes and concluded that it is cheaper to own a house than to rent even in the most expensive suburbs of America, e.g., New York.
The article Rethinking Rent reviews the issues surrounding the ownership and renting of houses in the US. The federal government has strived to create a conducive environment to encourage people to own homes, with about sixty-seven of Americans being in possession of a place of residence. However, the economic recession experienced in 2008 has led to a stagnation in this initiative, prompting analysts to question the significance of owning a house. The supporters of this government plan indicate that people tend to take care of their neighborhoods better when they belong to that particular community than when they are just mere renters.
Economists have voiced their concerns, exposing the underlying financial risks of buying a house (Tuhus-Dubrow 258). The author also points out that having a large proportion of the population who are homeowners also impacts the economy adversely since employees are resistant to relocating to new workplaces (Tuhus-Dubrow 259). The author differs with the idea presented by David, citing the dismissal of the notion that homeownership promotes self-esteem, civic engagement, and better health. The article argues that homeownership benefits the government instead of its citizens and recommends increased involvement of the state in availing affordable housing for its citizens.
Renting a house is advantageous in that individuals are not under any obligations whatsoever to maintain the property, and its economic benefits have been realized i...
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