Where there's money, there's often greed—and the Pembertons have a lot of money in Serena, so it isn't exactly surprising that they're also super greedy. There's nothing wrong with wanting to get rich or die trying (just ask 50 Cent), but there is something wrong with milking every single penny out of people who need it when you can afford to loosen the purse strings a little, which is exactly how the Pembertons roll. These two refuse to support Jacob even though Pemberton is the kid's dad, nor are they down to give their workers small raises to help them feed their starving families. Yeah, they're greedy in the worst way.
Questions About Greed
- Who is the greediest character in Serena? Why? Give evidence from the text.
- Why are the wealthy greedy? Is there a motivating force behind their greed? Is anyone in the book greedy but not wealthy? What does this tell you?
- What makes the Pembertons so greedy when they already have enough money? Do you think something else is behind their greed? If so, what?
- What happens to the greedy characters? Is greed rewarded? Punished? Something else entirely?
Chew on This
In Serena, greed separates people and keeps them apart from one another, making a larger distinction between social classes.
Even though the Pembertons seem the greediest, greed is universal in this book. All investors and the government are just as greedy as the Pembertons when given the chance.