Among the Hidden
How we cite our quotes:
Once, when Luke was younger, a tramp had walked up to the house and Luke had only had time to hide under the sink in the mudroom before the man was in the house, begging for food. The door of the cabinet was cracked, so Luke had been able to peek out and see the man's patched trousers and holey shoes. He'd heard his whiny voice: "I ain't got no job, and I ain't et in three days.... No, no, I can't do no farmwork for my food. What do you think I am? I'm sick. I'm starving...." (3.41)
Until Jen, the only person Luke met outside his family was someone poorer than them. Doesn't exactly set the bar high, but it also gave Luke a first-hand glance at real poverty—and suggests that poverty doesn't actually do much to motivate people to work.
"Those hogs are our bread and butter," she said. "With grain prices the way they are...what are we going to live on?" (5.15)
The Garners rely on the pigs they raise, so when the Government takes them away (just like everything else), Luke's family is even more desperate than they were before. Real nice, Government. You sure do inspire a lot of loyalty.
Dad went on. "Williker says they raised everyone's taxes because of them fancy houses. Makes our land worth more."
"Isn't that good?" Luke asked eagerly.
Dad was shaking his head in disgust over Luke's question.
"No. It's only good if we're selling. And we ain't. All it means for us is that the Government thinks they can get more money out of us." (6.6-9)
That's property value for you: now the Garners have to pay more for the "privilege" of living next to a bunch of snotty Barons. Great. Wow, it almost seems like the Government is trying to suppress Luke's family and other families like his.