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Marcelo in the Real World

Marcelo in the Real World


by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo in the Real World Theme of Society and Class

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

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

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.

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