ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Tale of Two Classes

Updated on October 18, 2013

Between the wealthy and the poor

"Any city, however small, is in fact divided into two, one the city of the poor,
the other of the rich; these are at war with one another."
Plato

In Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, there are two cities that Marco Polo travels to that depict the disparity between the wealthy and the poor. Moriana is a city with two sides, one for the poor and one for the wealthy and Zobeide is a city where the poor search for a dream that is never fully realized.

The same token

Moriana is a city with two distinct and separate sides that never interact. Moriana is described as "a sheet of paper, with a figure on either side, which can neither be separated nor look at each other."

The figures, I believe are the poor and the rich. The fact that both sides can't be separated implies that you can't have one without the other. What an interesting concept, I thought. A concept, which means to me, the poor can't be considered poor if the rich weren't so exorbitantly wealthy. By the same token the rich couldn't be considered excessively wealthy if there weren't very poor people. Also, the rich have made their wealth on the backs of the poor and the poor cannot advance due to the wealthy's need to keep the poor working for low wages.

In Moriana, the fact that both sides also can't look at each other means to me that each side never comes in contact with the other. That might be because each side doesnt' want to be reminded of the other's existence. I imagine the poor wouldn't want to see what they don't have and the wealthy wouldn't want to see where they could wind up if they lost all their money somehow. It could also be that people feel more comfortable dealing with people who are of the same social class. Whatever the reason, it doesn't help anyone when people of different classes don't interact.

A lot less polished

Another city described in Invisible Cities is Zobeide, a city where immigrants moved after having dreams of an unattainable woman. This woman, I believe, is a metaphor for wealth. Sadly their dreams of attaining this wealth are never fulfilled once in Zobeide.

These two cities reminded me of New York City, which has an upper class and a lower class that never interact such as in Moriana. Just like in Zobeide, immigrants who moved to New York City, as well as native New Yorkers, are in search of a dream that may never come true.

Some areas of Manhattan, where some of the wealthiest people in the country live, is relative to Moriana, a city "with alabaster gates transparent in the sunlight, its coral columns supporting pediments encrusted with serpentine..." Now, while these things don't really exist in New York City, the upper class does enjoys a lifestyle relative to this side of Moriana. The wealthy in Manhattan live in large, decadent apartments worth millions of dollars in high rises with respectful, helpful doormen in clean, safe, quiet neighborhoods.

On the other hand, the other side of Moriana is described as "an expanse of rusting sheet metal, sackcloths, planks bristling with spikes, pipes black with soot, piles of tins... and ropes good for hanging oneself from a rotten beam." Apparently in this city, the poor people lived in the more industrious area. That's probably because that's where the poor worked. While the poorer neighborhoods located in the outer boroughs of New York City aren't exactly industrial, they are a lot less polished than the wealthy areas of Manhattan.

Just to make ends meet

When the people of Zobeide dream of living in one of these polished places, it's just that--a dream. To the inhabitants of Zobeide, "the city's streets were streets where they went to work every day, with no link any more to the dreamed chase. Which for that matter, had long been forgotten."

Just like in New York City, non-wealthy people work hard everyday, but get no closer to living the American dream. They work in low level jobs that pay the minimum wage with no hope of working their way up. Unfortunately in New York City, like most cities in the United States, once people are born into poverty it's very hard for them to pull themselves out. That's why people forget about the dream, like in Zobeide, and keep their head down and work just to make ends meet.

While it may be understandable that this dream crushing may have occurred centuries ago in a city like Zobeide, the fact that this is still occurring today in the United States is not only incomprehensible, but also reprehensible. Considering our Constitution states we are all entitled to the pursuit of happiness, it is unfair and unjust that this pursuit is becoming so difficult and discouraging for so many. "Our inequality materializes our upper class, vulgarizes our middle class, brutalizes our lower class." Matthew Arnold

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)