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View Diary: Open thread for night owls: 'Hard Times USA' looks at how the poor are punished for being poor (85 comments)

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  •  I'm an avid reader (14+ / 0-)

    and one of my biggest disappointments has been the way the poor have been portrayed in so many works of fiction. Detective novels, in general, are some of the worst offenders but I've found it across most genres including sci-fi.

    It's a stereotype that I could go into at length but won't. The end result though is to inform the opinions of a lot of people who have never really interacted with anyone poor; in much the same way that detective shows in the early seventies always portrayed perverts as long haired hippies.

    IMO, they need to do a better job and quit being so lazy. Not the poor—the writers.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 09:28:49 PM PST

    •  'House Of Earth' (8+ / 0-)
      Woody Guthrie wrote thousands of songs in his lifetime — but as far as anyone knows, he only wrote one novel. Recently discovered, House of Earth is the story of a young couple living in the Texas Panhandle in the 1930s. They dream of building a house that will withstand the bitter winds and ever-present dust that constantly threaten the flimsy wooden shack they call home.
      House of Earth is the story of struggling young sharecroppers Tike and Ella May. Nora Guthrie says her father has created a portrait of their life: sowing seeds, planting crops, making love, giving birth, and dreaming of creating a safe haven amid the dust storms and economic depression of the 1930s.
      In the end, Guthrie leaves the reader with a lot of unanswered questions about the fate of his characters. And that makes sense, Brinkley says, because real life is messy and rarely gets resolved in a tidy package — especially if you are poor.
    •  Ain't many Steinbecks' out there. nt (6+ / 0-)

      Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

      by franklyn on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 10:55:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Which is quite odd (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer, KenBee

      Considering how low a writer's income typically is.

    •  One of the best is in Northwest Passage (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer, JeffW

      by Kenneth Roberts.

      The foreword by Mark Twain begins

      "I have no special regard for Satan; but I can at least claim that I have no prejudice against him. It may even be that I lean a little his way on account of his not having a fair show. All religions issue Bibles against him, and say the most injurious things about him, but we never hear his side. We have none but the evidence for the prosecution and yet we have rendered the verdict. To my mind this is irregular. It is un-English, it is un-American; it is French;'... Of course Satan has some kind of a case it goes without saying. It may be a poor one, but that is nothing; that can be said about any of us.
      The case for the defense opens in New England where the first 45 chapters are given over to making Satan's argument for keeping on when you are a little past the edge of starving to death.
      "No sir we could crawl, but we couldn't lift a hatchet." "Mm. So you've come eighty miles since then, in these clothes and through the storm." "Yes sir." "Mm. Legs trouble you?" "Yes sir."
      I live there. From where the woods begin at the "Come Spring" diner just east of Appleton ridge, things haven't changed all that much over the years as regards subsistence living and forage.

      The story continues, by way of contrast, to make it possible to truly understand the mindset of people who would accept living in a wilderness without food, clothing, or shelter or anything else we view as a necessity as preferable to life in a city; where the author having first introduced us to the character of the leader of Rogers Rangers then takes us to London just prior to the American Revolution to visit him both celebrated and brought low and living in the poorhouse.

      The contrast between rich and poor is very carefully painted.

      Page 392

      "Yet when we had gone down to the dining room and set to work on the dinner, it was fat puffing Dr. Campbell rather than the brilliant Mr. Townsend who steered the conversation, and did it so unobtrusively that those of us who hoped to benefit most from it were scarcely aware of the steering. The dinner was exactly like every large dinner given at the time - soup at the head and foot of the table; then a saddle of mutton at one end and fish at the other; after that a capon at the head and a platter of pigeons at the foot; and lastly four sorts of ices - grape, raspberry, pineapple and lemon"
      Starting Page 404 chapter LV is given over to briefly describing life in the slums
      "All of this wretchedness was daily inveighed against  by Sir John Fielding and a few others; and yet upper class Englishmen calmly held to the view that in no other country were the lower classes so contented and prosperous as in England.

      From the first of my stay in London I knew better; for in my walks around St.Giles, Houndsditch, Whitechapel and the Rules of the Fleet I'd seen misery and horror as an everyday spectacle."...

      "Castle Street is part of the squalid maze north of Covent Garden. Every fourth house in that enormous rabbit warrwen was what was called a tupenny house - a den where for tuppence a man could drink a glass of gin and sleep on the floor with a dozen other vagrants in a barren upstairs room."
      What comes across, aside from the wretchedness and misery and man's inhumanity to man is the distance people will travel from accepted norms and mores in order to embrace the admittedly poor argument Satan makes for survival in this world as beating the alternative of giving up to embrace a better world in the next.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:11:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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