The Hour of the Star
How we cite our quotes:
If there is any truth in it—and clearly the story is true even though invented—let everyone see it reflected in himself for we are all one and the same person, and he who is not poor in terms of money is poor in spirit or feeling for he lacks something more precious than gold—for there are those who do not possess that essential essence. (1.5)
Poor little rich girls. It seems like the narrator is suggesting that those who have money lack something much more important than money—something that has to do with inner life and spirit. By contrast, Macabéa, who has very little money, does possess an inner life and grace.
There are thousands of girls like this girl from the North-east to be found in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, living in bedsitters or toiling behind counters for all they are worth. They aren't even aware of the fact that they are superfluous and that nobody cares a damn about their existence. (1.13)
Macabéa serves, in some ways, as a representative of this greater population of young, poor women struggling to survive in cities of Brazil. Rodrigo sounds harsh and bitter, but we have to ask: is there some part of him that agrees?
Why should I write about a young girl whose poverty is so evident? Perhaps because within her there is seclusion. Also because in her poverty of body and soul one touches sanctity and I long to feel the breath of life hereafter. (2.39)
Our narrator seems to want to achieve something of the same kind of grace that Macabéa does, and maybe he thinks that she, and her poverty, are keys to obtaining it. Somehow, this seems a little unfair to Macabéa—like maybe he's even exploiting her a little.