Among the Hidden Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
He'd overheard Mother and Dad marveling that the people moving into the new houses were not just going to be city people, but Barons. Barons were unbelievably rich, Luke knew. They had things ordinary people hadn't had in years. Luke wasn't sure how the Barons had gotten rich, when everybody else was poor. But Dad never said the word "Baron" without a curse word or two in front of it. (7.3)
We're not sure either, but we are sure of one thing: if a few people are rich while everybody else is poor, then someone's been doing something hinky—and it's not the poor. We're not revolutionaries or anything, but we're definitely on Mr. Garner's side here.
This room was different. It reminded him of a word he'd never heard, only read: "pristine." Nobody had ever stepped on these white rugs with manure-covered boots. Nobody had ever sat on those pale blue couches with corn-dust-covered jeans. (14.8)
Cleanliness is next to godliness—or at least wealth. When Luke experiences first-hand the difference between Barons and non-Barons, he realizes that one of the benefits of money is that it lets you be clean.
"They weren't trying for anything," he said. "I was a surprise. Luck."
Jen nodded. "I didn't think they paid for you," she said. Then she put her hand over her mouth. "That sounded really terrible, didn't it? I didn't mean anything by it. It's just--you're the first person I've met who wasn't a Baron."
"How do you know I'm not?" Luke asked stiffly.
"Well--" Jen waved her hand in a way that made Luke even more aware of the contrast between his ragged flannel shirt and patched jeans, and Jen's perfect house. (16.45-48)
Luke has preconceptions about the Barons—they're rich, probably corrupt, definitely snobbish—and he seems to be right on at least two of those. But Jen has preconceptions of her own. She doesn't go too far into them, but we get the point: to Jen and her social equals, non-Barons are pretty much just dirty peasants. Nice.