Urban Literature

Spring 2007



Essay on The Corner (1997) by David Simon and Edward Burns


Due Wednesday, May 16 at 3:30 pm.


How would William Julius Wilson respond to reading The Corner? Would he agree with Simon and Burnsí depiction of the drug culture that persists throughout working class neighborhoods in Baltimore?


How would Wilsonís recommendations about what should be done differ from Simon and Burnsí suggestions? Consider Glenn Loury's dissenting view.


Consider the likely fate awaiting many of the kids with whom we have worked at the Paca School. The best essays will consider the conservative points which argue against an expensive government program.




1.      The impact of the drug culture on individuals, families, and communities.

2.      The failure of public institutions (law enforcement, health, education and social services) to cope with the problem.

3.      The absence of adequate jobs for unskilled labor.

4.      The enormous tax payer expense of this program.


Think also about the trajectory of the American city entering the 21st century as described by the authors whose works we have studied this semester:


Dr. David Hilfikerís Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen (2003)

Jonathan Kozol, The Shame of the Nation (2006)

Stephen Craneís Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1891) 

Nicholas Lemannís The Promised Land (1920-1940): Clarksdale to Chicago

Richard Wrightís Native Son (1940)

Part Two of Nicholas Lemannís The Promised Land: Washington (1940-1970)

Elliot Liebowís Tallyís Corner (1963)

David Simon and Edward Burnsí The Corner (1991)