The Hour of the Star
Poverty Quotes Page 3
How we cite our quotes:
Oh, if only I could seize Macabéa, giver her a good scrubbing and a plate of hot soup, kiss her on the forehead and tuck her up in bed. So that she might wake up to discover the great luxury of living. (4.275)
This paternal image of the narrator taking care of Macabéa is particularly depressing when you consider that literally no one has ever does something like this for her. Her poverty isn't just physical; it's also emotional.
She even summoned enough courage to ask her aunt to buy her some cod liver oil. (Already addicted to advertisements, she had read about cod liver oil.) Her aunt rebuked her: Who do you think you are, some rich man's daughter, accustomed to luxuries? (4.289)
We hate to say it, but her aunt has a point here: Macabéa is not rich and cod liver oil, which Macabéa thinks will fatten her up, is a luxury. Other luxuries: spaghetti, chocolates, and, well, anything but those stupid hotdogs and cokes.
On the following day, which was a Monday, perhaps because the chocolate had affected her liver or because of her nervousness about drinking something intended for the rich, Macabéa felt unwell. (4.325)
Sure, Macabéa's stomach isn't accustomed to drinking rich beverages like hot chocolate. But what's really sad is that she feels like she just doesn't deserve these foods. And all over a cup of hot chocolate. (You have to hope that it at least wasn't from a mix.)