Poverty and appearance over reality proves to be a major theme in Trash. The protagonists Raphael Gardo and Jun-Jun (commonly known as Rat) are born into poverty and if not for encountering the McGuffin i.e. the bag, they would have been destined to live out the remainder of their lives at the dump.
Privileges that are available to individuals in developed countries aren’t available to the protagonists, however even though they’re faced with a situation most would have accepted, they continued to have hope and outsmart policemen, their principal and the social worker.
An example of the boy’s’ wit is shown in the statement “Me, the garbage boy had just lied his way out from under the noses of those clever policemen ‘I don’t have the bag’, when all the time I knew exactly where it was and what was in it.” Raphael stayed silent through their interrogation and wasn’t intimidated because he was a dump site boy.
Even though these boys were underprivileged, forfeiting an education to work for food and water, they outsmarted qualified policemen with science and technology as an aid in their investigation as well as a police force there to support at a minute’s notice. It just goes to show that appearance can be deceiving.
In the novel the author uses setting and characterisation to examine the idea/theme of poverty.
another quote by Raphael from page 4, “I am one of the rubbish boys I pick up the stuff this city throws away.
” Through this quote we can interoperate that Raphael is the family’s source of money. We make this observation due to the fact that Raphael is too young to legally work, and usually parents or guardians are supposed to provide for their children. Although Raphael must provide for his family due to the dire circumstances. Therefore his family must rely on Raphael to supply the little money they have. This is a terrific example of poverty in the text. Using the above examples we can now identify how the author has used characterisation to portray the idea of poverty in the novel.
When you’re born into a place as poor as Behala it is hard to change your lifestyle and the way society treats you. As an example, Raphael states: “The dangerous bit was going to be the locker. They’d assume right away that we were thieving”. Due to the boy’s lack of cleanliness they would instantly be looked down upon and assumed to be stealing since people would normally think they couldn’t afford a locker. Being born into poverty may already make people suspicious and wary which is unfair but a common stereotype in society.
Police corruption is common all throughout the Novel. This is evident in several moments at the beginning of the novel, and at the end. The way people can use money to sway people’s opinions and judgement is easily shown. An example of the corruption is in the sentence: “If the police think you’ve got something, they won’t stop till they’ve got it from you” which is a statement from Gardo which further enforces the fact that the police are corrupt.
More examples that reinforce this theme is when Gardo is taken forcefully by Police, he is then interrogated by Police, they beat him and even dangle him out of a window by his ankles saying they would drop him if he didn’t tell them where the bag was.
This shows that the Police are relentless and don’t abide by any set of rules thus reinforcing the idea of police corruption through out the novel.
Friendship through tough times: Paragraph 3