Study Guide

Sergeant Gordo in Homecoming

By Cynthia Voigt

Sergeant Gordo

This guy only shows up for a few chapters, but he makes a bad impression right away. Sergeant Gordo is supposed to be helping the Tillermans find their mother, but he spends most of his time making bad jokes and saying insensitive things. This is just one example:

"What about welfare? Or unemployment compensation?"

Dicey shook her head. "Momma said she couldn't do that. She wouldn't even go talk to anyone. She said charity was not for the Tillermans."

"I wish more people felt that way," Sergeant Gordo said. (1.10.114-116)

Seriously, dude? You're glad Liza didn't take any help? Maybe if she had accepted charity she wouldn't have lost her mind and abandoned her children. Geez, man, that's sort of what the social safety net is for.

Of course, later on he has no issue with Cousin Eunice applying for welfare (1.12.149) when she agrees to take in the kids. Seems moral stances against charity only apply to other people. Sergeant Gordo is symbolic of the view that lots of folks take toward the Tillerman family: They're poor and trashy and probably can't be helped. Hey, shows what they know.

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