Westward Hoboes


Winifred Hawkridge Dixon

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Tonight, we’ll read the opening to “Westward Hoboes” written by Winifred Hawkridge Dixon and published in 1921.

In this story, two early 1920s girls from Boston set out to tour the West all by themselves, equipped with a sturdy car, a camping outfit, courage and a sense of humor.

A hobo is an old-fashioned term for a migrant worker in the United States. Hoboes, tramps, and bums are generally regarded as related, but distinct. A hobo travels and is willing to work. A tramp travels, but avoids work if possible. A bum neither travels nor works.

Following these definitions, it seems that the protagonists should have been referred to as tramps instead of hoboes, as they were only traveling, not working.