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Two types:

  1. Monetary
  2. Social

1. Monetary

  • The students of Hailsham are poor. While in school they have no real concept of money. They use tokens for the sales and they use the exchanges to swap or gain other possessions.
  • While in the cottages all their needs are provided for in the form of very basic food and lodging. They do have a car so they obviously do have money for some of their needs however they are never in a position of great wealth. This is obvious from the condition of their living space.
  • When we look at spending within the text there is very little evidence; unseen car running costs; Tommy buying the cassette in Norfolk for Kathy; unseen spending on porn magazines.
  • When they do leave the cottages they become carers or being donations. Again we have the idea that they do have some money with our example being the fact that Kathy can run her car. Again we can see that this is limited when we see that Kathy lives in a bed sit. There is nothing glamorous about this life style.

2. Social

  • Ruth approaching Kathy and speaking to her only among a group of people shows poor social skills on her part and development of a hierarchy.
  • The fact that the students do not hug shows a lack of emotional development or a lack of understanding of social norms.
  • The treatment of Tommy in the beginning of the text shows severe bullying and Kathy struggles with how to handle this also.
  • Ruth’s ability to remove people from her group shows again an element of bullying.
  • The students of Hailsham’s inability to speak with Madame, the guardians and those that help with the sales shows a social ignorance. The students of Hailsham do not realise their social standing within society.
  • Again in the cottages the Kathy and the group struggle to converse with Keffer.
  • While in the cottages Ruth copying the television and others in the cottages social actions shows that as people they have not developed fully or developed their own characteristics.
  • When they drive to Norfolk we can see that they struggle to converse with the lady in the art gallery; run when people look at them from the coffee shop.
  • Talking to Madame and Miss Emily we see the innocence of Tommy and Kathy and the lies that they believed. They did not have a true understanding of their place within society and how much society fears them. They have had so little contact with society they truly do not understand it.
  • Tommy and Kathy have had feelings for each other for some time but it is not till towards the end of Tommy’s donations that they express this. Even the expression of their feelings lacks an emotional connection as they do not know how to express themselves e.g. when Kathy leaves Tommy puts his hands up as if he has scored a goal. There is no sadness expressed.



2 responses »

  1. I am supposed to write about symbols and find a passage to close read. I really like the idea of poverty however i’m not sure what passage to base all of this information on. What passage/ch. would be best if i want to discuss this topic?

    • I would pick something around the middle section from the cottages.

      Social poverty is found in the mimicking of TV shows. The irony being that if they are all watching the same shows and people within the house, then following the same perceived social patterns they become clones of each other. Individuality is not encouraged through diverse living and external environments.

      Monetary poverty is the conditions of the cottages. Rationed oil/gas, poor standards of living.

      You could mix both aspects of poverty through the section of sex under the carpet pieces and blankets. The standard of living awful through the description of the event. You then have the emotional aspect if you can agree that sex is linked to emotions. If you can get that understanding from your audience then they can accept the mechanical response to sex under rags as emotional poverty


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