Greed Over Obligation

Money Over Obligation


Money, a word so important in the hearts of people. It would take money to consume, it would take money to live, and it would take money to do everything. But is that the truth. Money flicks and intrigues ambition to take control over consciousness. In this society right now, money lives as the center of life, people work for it, spend it, love it. Andy Mulligan’s Trash reflexes these social problems in a third world country that resembles the Philippines. The theme of that book is greed, specifically having a senator that has his ambition of earning money over his sense of obligation.


The Character I choose would be Raphael Fernandez. He is a trash boy with a pure heart. He struggles when working alone and is not a mature boy. He acts as the younger brother of Gardo. “Gardo’s my partner, and we always work together. He looks after me.” (7, Mulligan) In the story, Raphael got caught by the police. He was weak and hopeless and cried when the police threatened him. “I lost control and simply…all down my legs, I lost control- I was so frightened and I was stinking and I was shouting.”(68) “I didn’t find a bad sir”(68) This shows how immature and weak he as a character is.


When the police came to retrieve that left bag/wallet they wanted to use money to make people work. This “idea” started right at the start having people work for money. Thinking about the setting, people living in the Behala’s rarely even gets money. They acted like zombies and began searching for what the police wanted. “Six hundred left for me.” (Mulligan, 10) This is the section where the two protagonists discussed the money in the wallet. It is obvious that “money” controls all of Raphael and Gardo’s actions. Conflicts in this book show the theme. One example will be the part where the police nearly threw Raphael out of the window. “And we will if we want to break every bone in your body” (Mulligan,71) The executioner forced Raphael to tell him where the wallet is. He used his powers to threaten the lives of the ones without power. “I left the money where it was, took up the book, and I moved fast.”(166) This is the section where Raphael, Gardo, and Rat traded with the police Marco. The greed of Marco told him to betray the boys. He wanted both the money from the boys and the prize catching the boys. The theme of money reached its climax when the boys discovered what the senator did. “Senator Zapanta stopped a nation in its tracks. He stopped our country making progress… For the millions he took, how many millions did he prevent even being offered?” (224) “senator Zapanta keeps millions of dollars of cash in his home suggests that he is a part of a corrupt other world.” (189) This shows how the Senator kept the perspiration and hard work(tax) of people in his hands and used it for recreation.


The setting and theme of this story in some ways resemble the Philippines and some other countries that have an unstable/unreliable government. I can imagine the situation of having a “thief” as your leader. Just a few months ago, the Chinese government discovered that a lot of party members used their power to illegally confiscate the wealth and properties of the citizens. This event is similar to the ones listed in the book because both the governments include some corrupted people and they are both risking their fame for illegal profit. It will be hard for countries to develop when having those parasites consuming what was meant to be the fuel of development. Also, there was a new a few years ago about a corrupt Philippine president who “destroyed” the economy of the country by earning money against the countries laws and fortunately he got caught. I believe that the author of Trash purposely used senator Zapanta to resemble that sinful president and effects of his corruption/greed.

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