Marcelo in the Real World
Society and Class Theme
Marcelo has no concept of class distinction until he sees three things: that the houses in Robert Steely's neighborhood are closer together than in his own, that Amos's yard is full of faded lawn ornaments, and that Ixtel has to live in a convent that used to be a mansion but now houses more than 40 people. He's so naïve about this stuff that he never mentions poverty in Marcelo in the Real World; we're not sure if he even really comprehends how money works. After all, he's never had to. But nothing says "awakening to class differences" like a private-school kid with his own custom treehouse discovering pink flamingos, Bud Light, and fiddle music for the first time.
Questions About Society and Class
- Marcelo makes note of the fact that not only does Amos have lawn ornaments, some of them are faded. Why is this significant to him?
- Does Marcelo's awareness of other people's survival despite lack of money make him less afraid of his family losing their wealth? Why or why not?
- Why isn't Marcelo impressed or intimidated by Wendell's yacht and Harvard education? Why doesn't he compare himself to Wendell, like others would, and wonder why his family doesn't have a yacht despite Arturo's wealth?
Chew on This
Stork shows us that some people are less fortunate than others by detailing their possessions—for example, Jasmine owns only a keyboard and CDs, while Wendell has a yacht.
Even though his mother, a nurse, makes significantly less money than Arturo, and probably even less than Jerry Garcia, Marcelo chooses to follow in her footsteps rather than his father's because he doesn't care a lick about moolah.