Margaret Atwood: Understanding Debt Through Literature
Marry for love without money – “Have Great Nights, Lousy Days”
Marry for money without love – “Have Great Days, Lousy Nights”
His Holiness Swami Desispeaks ananda
Debt as a motif and theme is explained, especially in 19th century literature. Canada’s premier novelist, Margaret Atwood, joins Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss how our notion of debt can be better understood through literature
“You Scratch My Back, I’ll scratch yours”
In the animal kingdom, one’s back gets scratched reciprocally. In modern human societies, rich people get more scratches, poor people get less.
All of them wrote about human beings, not about dragons and space aliens in another planet. Most characters have struggles with money. It was always an important plot point about how people make money.
As a child, one reads the books for the romance angle. As one grows older the financial reasons for a Darcy or any other “love lorn” character of these books becomes more and more clear. Scrooge finds redemption by spending some of his hoarded treasures at the end. His soul is saved only by spending his money!
Atwood analyses the Heathcliff-Catherine-Edgar “love” triangle, and discovers that the key issues are all based on the ups and downs (financially) of the characters.
Mr. Earnshaw, a Yorkshire Farmer and owner of Wuthering Heights, brings home an orphan from Liverpool. The boy is named Heathcliff and is raised with the Earnshaw children, Hindley and Catherine. Catherine loves Heathcliff and the two soon grow inseparable, spending their days playing on the moors. After her father’s death, Catherine’s desire for financial and social advancement prompts her to marry to Edgar Linton. Years later Heathcliff returns a rich man and forces Edgar to become an alcoholic bankrupt. It is Heathcliff’s penury which forces Catherine to ditch him.
“Governess” as an occupation
Please see this report on a movie with characters from that era.
Educated poor girls ranked low in the marriage market. A large number of educated girls ended up as governesses in wealthy households. How many of these governesses were “spolit” by their masters will never be known.
Financial Romances in USA
The best known book where emotions are driven by money is “The Great Gatsby”. The Godfather series is all about some immigrant families trying to make a living,