Roberta Writes – Can you guess the book: Quotes from books that include poverty or mistreatment of others as a theme or sub-theme

Dave Astor has a great post this week about books that feature poverty or abuse of others called This Gap Is Not a Clothing Chain. You can read it here: Dave challenged his readers to mention some books that feature this theme and these are mine.

I have been a little tricky with my post though, because all the quotes come from a specific scene or set of related scenes in each of the books below as poverty and abuse are not necessary the primary theme of the novel. Can you guess which books the quotes are from?

Book 1 – English writer – gothic, Bildungsroman, romance novel

“The punishment seemed to me in a high degree ignominious, especially for so great a girl—she looked thirteen or upward…to my surprise, she neither wept nor blushed. Composed, though grave, she stood, the central mark of all eyes…her sight seems turned in, gone down into her heart. She is looking at what she can remember, I believe; not at what is really present. I wonder what sort of girl she is—whether good or naughty.”

“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs. We are, and must be, one and all, burdened by faults in this world; but the time will soon come when, I trust, we shall put them off in putting off our corruptible bodies…I hold another creed, which no one ever taught me, and which I seldom mention, but in which I delight, and to which I cling; for it extends hope to all; it makes Eternity a rest—a mighty home, not a terror and an abyss.”

“What my sensations were, no language can describe; but just as they all rose, stifling my breath and constricting my throat, a girl came up and passed me; in passing, she lifted her eyes. What a strange light inspired them!…It was as if a martyr, a hero, had passed a slave or victim, and imparted strength in the transit. I mastered the rising hysteria, lifted up my head, and took a firm stand on the stool.”

Book 2: English writer – dystopian social science fiction novel

“But simultaneously, true to the Principles of doublethink, the Party taught that the proles were natural inferiors who must be kept in subjection, like animals, by the application of a few simple rules.”

“There was a vast amount of criminality in London, a whole world-within-a-world of thieves, bandits, prostitutes, drug-peddlers, and racketeers of every description; but since it all happened among the proles themselves, it was of no importance.”

” ‘The proles are not human beings,’ he said carelessly.”

Book 3: English writer – dystopian novel

“She liked even less what awaited her at the entrance to the pueblo, where their guide had left them while he went inside for instructions. The dirt, to start with, the piles of rubbish, the dust, the dogs, the flies. Her face wrinkled up into a grimace of disgust. She held her handkerchief to her nose. 

“But how can they live like this?” she broke out in a voice of indignant incredulity. (It wasn’t possible.)” 

“In the Beta-Minus geography room John learnt that “a savage reservation is a place which, owing to unfavorable climatic or geological conditions, or poverty of natural resources, has not been worth the expense of civilizing.””

“. . . upwards of five thousand kilometres of fencing at sixty thousand volts.”. . .

“”To touch the fence is instant death,” pronounced the Warden solemnly. “There is no escape from a Savage Reservation.”. . .

“Those, I repeat, who are born in the Reservation are destined to die there.”. . .

Leaning forward, the Warden tapped the table with his forefinger. “You ask me how many people live in the Reservation. And I reply”—triumphantly—“I reply that we do not know. We can only guess.””

Book 4: Australian author – family saga

“It’s not worth getting upset about, Mrs. Dominic. Down in the city they don’t know how the other half lives, and they can afford the luxury of doting on their animals as if they were children. Out here it’s different. You’ll never see man, woman or child in need of help go ignored out here, yet in the city those same people who dote on their pets will completely ignore a cry of help from a human being. ”

“We’re working-class people, which means we don’t get rich or have maids. Be content with what you are and what you have.”

“We all have contempt for whatever there’s too many of. Out here it’s sheep, but in the city it’s people.”

66 thoughts on “Roberta Writes – Can you guess the book: Quotes from books that include poverty or mistreatment of others as a theme or sub-theme

  1. Number 1 sounds like a Bronte, but I don’t know which Bronte or which book. Numbers 2 and 3 are 1984 and Brave New World OR Brave New World and 1984 (I can’t keep them straight; shame on me). I’m totally clueless as to number 4.
    This was fun, Robbie.:-)

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Another great, thought-provoking, puzzler of a post, Robbie! I’ll say 1) “Jane Eyre” 2) “1984” 3) “Brave New World.” The fourth one I’m unsure of — Colleen McCullough’s “The Thorn Birds” or “Morgan’s Run”? Neil Shute’s “On the Beach”? I LOVE the contemporary Australian author Liane Moriarty, but this doesn’t sound like her style of writing. And thanks so much for the mention of my post! 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hi Dave, it is my pleasure to link to your post. Your topics are great inspirations for these quotes posts and readers seem to enjoy the challenge. You are spot on with your choices and the last book is The Thorn Birds. I really enjoyed that book and the amazing descriptions of Australia and life on a sheep farm. Thanks for joining in, Dave.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. HI Martina, I’m glad you enjoyed these quotes. Book 1 is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It is a scene from her time at Lowood school when she befriends another girl called Helen Burns. Such a sad scene. Book 2 is 1984 by George Orwell, Book 3 A Brave New World and Book 4 is The Thorn Birds which was made into a popular mini series and which I just love as a book. Thanks for visiting, Martina.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I know two of these. #2 is 1984, by George Orwell, and #3 is Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. I read them both as set texts in Eng Lit at school. I could only guess wildly at the other two!

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  4. The first one SOUNDS like Jane Eyre, but I have no idea of the next two. I’m not even sure of the first one because it has been so many years since I read the book. I must have been 14 or 15 and now I’m 75 — so that’s at least 60 years ago. I did see the movie (the one with Orson Wells) the other night or I might not remember it at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Marilyn, Jane Eyre is a wonderful book and you are right about that one. Book 2 is 1984 by George Orwell, Book 3 is A Brave New World (a favourite dystopian novel of mine) and Book 4 is The Thorn Birds which I love very much. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. HI Liz, I couldn’t think of any American books I’d read on this topic so they are all English and one Australian which is a little unfair to my American readers. In my defense I have The Grapes of Wrath on my kindle. The books are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, 1984, A Brave New World (have you read it? Incredible world building!) and The Thorn Birds.

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  5. Poverty and mistreatment are common theme in novels and in non-fiction that date back over the centuries, although resolution is indeed nebulous. The question then becomes, how do we, as individuals, respond to these problems. For example, poverty is a “wicked problem,” – that is defined a a social or cultural problem that’s difficult or impossible to solve because of its complex and interconnected nature. Thank you to you and Dave for highlighting these issues.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. HI Rebecca, as I’ve just said to Kerfe, the people who step up to lead and take high government positions in this world are frequently the greedy, selfish and power hungry individuals who do not have the characteristics that most of us hold dear such as empathy and caring. Sadly, people who do have these characteristics rarely have the drive to lead because the two concepts are an oxymoron.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I just read that new research, which I think would be of interest to you, from the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business, which shows that even if they don’t get money, status or influence, people desire power.

        Here is a quote that confirms your thoughts:

        “But the results show that people who have climbed the ranks in organizations, in politics and even in families aren’t always the best ones for the job.

        “People who are willing to compete for power and pay for power are not the ones who should have power, because the decisions they make are not necessarily welfare improving. In our case they’re welfare harming,” says Pikulina. As a result, businesses and political parties should put clear checks in place to prevent power-hungry candidates from rising up, she says.”

        Liked by 2 people

        1. HI Rebecca, thank you for this link. I am delighted there is research on this matter which for I understand innately. Unfortunately, it is difficult to stop the climb of such people as they are very determined and often say things that appeal to people who feel marginalised in some way. They lead through deception and manipulation of mass anger.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Kerfe, yes, that is right. I have given a lot of thought to the state of the world and have decided that the mess is due to the fact that good and empathetic people don’t look for power or excessive money so they don’t lead. Our leaders are people who have the worst human traits of greed and power hungriness in excess.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Hi Dan, haven’t you read 1984? Gosh, you had better remediate that [grin] – it is a fascinating book. The Thorn Birds might be a bit girly as it is a family drama and romance. I liked the descriptions of life for the Cleary’s and the hardships they faced on the sheep farm. It was very insightful for me as I don’t know that much about life in Australia (well, I didn’t at the time I read it). The information about the Catholic Church also intrigued me as I grew up Catholic.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Amazing! You make great posts from Dave’s challenges.
    I got 1 & 2. Unbelievable!

    So, I just finished “The Necromancer’s Daughter”. I’ll be doing a post in awhile…. one of my out of the box reviews. I want to draw Aster, so it won’t be right away.
    Then Your books are up!
    I must be the slowest reader on WP!

    Liked by 2 people

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