Study Guide

The Scorpio Races Poverty

By Maggie Stiefvater


Talk of axing someone's job is not a thing to toss around lightly. (10.65)

Mutt Malvern is like Mitt Romney in that way: It's not really funny to him unless someone gets fired.

Not many people on the island have cars. (12.11)

This shows us both how Thisby is pretty small, and also how poor everyone is. They live on an isolated island with little-to-no contact with the outside world. How can that kind of economy survive?

We're both going without better for the same reason. (16.36)

Everyone has to make sacrifices on the island, even the horses. Without enough money to feed the family, both Puck and her horse, Dove, are on a diet. And it affects both their abilities to do well athletically.

"I am here to evict you." (16.46)

Money is a major motivating factor for Puck—not because she wants to be rich, but because she needs it as a simple fact of life. She literally has to pay for the roof over her head.

"I'm not a generous person, Kate Connolly." (16.68)

If Benjamin Malvern ever has to go to the mainland, he'll have a good job as a banking executive. But he is entitled to collect his debts, right? Does he have to be such a jerk about it?

"What do you think [...] about selling the Morris?" (19.3)

Puck is asking her brother to make a serious sacrifice here, without a guaranteed pay off. She's asking him to sell his car and use the money for horse feed. If this book was called The Morris Races, do you think Puck would sell Dove to buy better gas for Finn's car?

This will only buy [Dove] a week's worth of better feed, and use up all of our money. (23.10)

Once again, Puck faces a serious monetary decision: Use the family's savings for horse food, or try to go without. Maybe Finn sells his car just to keep Puck from filching the rest of their savings.

"Principle won't pay the bills." (24.40)

Money makes people do things they don't want to do. In Puck's case, she considers riding on the same type of horse that killed her parents. If she weren't so desperate for money, she'd never even entertain that thought for a second.

"Two hundred." This is dear, but doable. Only just. Only if I can count this year's unwon purse as part of my savings. (43.58)

Benjamin Malvern is pretty unscrupulous. He takes advantage of both Puck and Sean's relatively poverty to get what he wants. He'd have a great job as a banker if the horse breeding business goes bust.

"If you rolled over in your bed, you'd end up in the sink. Every morning is breakfast in bed because there's no floor to speak of." (58.23)

Sean isn't much better off than Puck is, and in some way he's doing worse. At least Puck has an entire house to take care of—Sean's horses have more room in their stalls than he has in his room.

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