Looking for a "classic" literary text on poverty

Discussion in 'Non-WOT - Literature and Fiction' started by Ilissa al'Nari, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. Ilissa al'Nari

    Ilissa al'Nari Scribe of the Glitterati Aes Sedai

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    Hey, I thought I'd reach out here to see if any TarValonites had some ideas :) Thank you in advance!

    So I am doing a Master's degree, and this spring we're focusing on literature. We have been told to find 12 texts that may be used in an English classroom for teenagers/young adults. I have a few ideas already, one of which is to take a look at texts from different periods that all have poverty as a theme.

    I come to you asking if you have any ideas for a 'classic' English text, written at some point from 1700-1950, which has poverty as a central theme. Bonus points if it is a short story -- we have been told to use a variety of text types, and so far I have a song (At the end of the day from Les Mis), a game (Spent), a Bible excerpt (Jesus telling off Judas when Judas asks if the spikenard Mary pours over Jesus' feet shouldn't rather be sold in order to give the money to the poor). It could also be an excerpt from a novel, but if so I would really appreciate a general idea of where in the book to look.
     
  2. Aduiavas Ida

    Aduiavas Ida Aes Sedai Mistress of Revels - Europe

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    Well, Dickens is a good place to start.
    Oliver Twist comes to mind :look
     
  3. Alora Sionn

    Alora Sionn Mama Wolf Gaidin Company Commander of Val'Cueran Moderator

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    Green Mansions has a scene where they describe the living conditions of an old man and a young girl that lives with him, they live in a shack in the jungles of south America, the whole book isn't about poverty but maybe you can use that, I can take pics of the relevant pages. If this sounds like it could work let me know :)
     
  4. Ilissa al'Nari

    Ilissa al'Nari Scribe of the Glitterati Aes Sedai

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    Alora, please do post it and I will see if I think it fits!
     
  5. Cursor Wrathwind

    Cursor Wrathwind Gaidin

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    Does it have to be originally in English or are translated works ok?

    Some English options:

    The Grapes of Wrath
    Of Mice and Men
    Jude the Obscure
    Sons and Lovers
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
  6. Ilissa al'Nari

    Ilissa al'Nari Scribe of the Glitterati Aes Sedai

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    Cursor, thank you! I think my professors would be quite put out if I didn't use materials that were originally published in English.
     
  7. Alyria Savoinya

    Alyria Savoinya Aes Sedai Mediator

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    The Train from Rhodesia by Nadine Gordimer comes to mind. Alice Walker and Toni Morrison both write about being Black in America, which hit on poverty pretty hard. Just be warned, some of Toni Morrison's works are difficult to get through, content wise.
     
  8. Ephrem Elpidius

    Ephrem Elpidius Citizen

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    I just finished reading The Essence of Progress and Poverty, written in 1879. While this is economics writing mostly, it does explain it in a rather interesting story type way at first. The building blocks of progress are explored through the natural evolution of more manpower, but he explains it sort of like a story which I found to be rather interesting and informative. It is a very short book as well. Not sure if this counts as what you are looking for, as it is an economic theory on how to help poverty with a land tax, but it's explained in a unique narrative form.
     
  9. Maibella ni Rhoiden t'al'Varrak

    Maibella ni Rhoiden t'al'Varrak Aes Sedai Head of the Gray Ajah

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    What about "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift? It is a satirical essay written in 1729.
     
  10. Alyria Savoinya

    Alyria Savoinya Aes Sedai Mediator

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    This isn't classic, it's quite modern, but I am about done reading "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance and it's about broke my heart in two. It speaks so clearly to where I live, what I see everyday, and my own husbands family that he could have wrote about my life. It makes my stomach clench to know that Appalachia has just been left for dead @Morgana Arakos
     
  11. Linkelivar Miou'Mai

    Linkelivar Miou'Mai Citizen

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    Here are a few poems about poverty

    Robert Herrick, ‘Poverty and Riches'
    Anna Lætitia Barbauld, ‘To the Poor
     
  12. Juliya Karisu

    Juliya Karisu Aes Sedai

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    Little Women (1868), chapters 1-2. They think they are poor but only realise how rich they are when they give away their food to those even poorer than themselves.