What to get the reader’s attention, to make

What does “Trash” teach us about the world?
Anastasiya Khudavets

What does “Trash” by Andy Mulligan teach us about the world? It is a novel that was published in 2010. “Trash” is a story of three boys who lived in Behala – the imaginary city. Trash is stocked in there, and the real adventure begins when one of the boys – Raphael – finds a mysterious wallet. Well, a lot of serious issues are brought up in the book (including corruption, inequality, etc.). “Trash” teaches us about the real world. Aside with the poor, the wealthy people live, and juxtaposition is used in the book to get the reader’s attention, to make people think about money, friendship, corruption, wealth and poverty, inequality.

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What’s first? Friendship. The most obvious – but also important – topic. One of the techniques used in “Trash” is multi-voice narrative. Andy Mulligan used this to show the feelings of the characters, each and every one, their thoughts and concerns. For example of friendship, let’s look at this quote: “Then he put his hands up on my shoulders and looked right into my eyes.
‘You and me are friends now,’ he said, ‘right?’
I nodded.
‘Real friends?’ he said.
‘Of course,’ I said.”
This is a dialogue between Rat (Jun) and Raphael. Rat reveals his feelings after he shows the money he’s got. The sentences are short, and that helps to represent the significance of the moment. “And it feels so wrong, because in Gardo, Raphael – and maybe most of all Rat – I left part of my heart, and this only makes me long to see you again, and this page is wet with my tears, boys. Goodbye, and thank you so much for using me.” – Sister Olivia. This is a great example of friendship in the book – tells us what a real friendship is like. How do we know it’s an example of friendship? Only a real friend would act like Sister Olivia. A metaphor is used in the quote – “in Gardo, Raphael – and maybe most of all Rat – I left part of my heart”, which is not literally, of course, but it tells how much Sister Olivia attached to the boys – with a part of her heart. Irony is used at the end of the quote – and at the end of the chapter – this last sentence is used to tell the importance of the time Sister Olivia spent with the boys. She uses irony to make it seem like the opposite, but she will never forget the boys. If working as a team, you can achieve much more, than by yourself – that’s one of the key ideas of the book that Andy Mulligan is talking about. That’s why he used multiple main characters – by themselves they would not have reach the goal.

Corruption is the abuse of power. Mulligan shows what the real world sometimes is like by including corruption as one of the key ideas. “You really think they’d give it?” – asks Gardo in the dialogue with Raphael’s aunt. He means the policemen, who promised they’d give the money to those, who bring the wallet to them. This shows the mistrust to the policemen, that may mean that Gardo (and probably a lot of Behala people) had a bad experience with the government. By the way, most of the corrupts shown in the book are the policemen. Here is another quote, taken from a part, when Raphael was talking to a ‘man in the suit’: “And we will – if we want to – break every bone in your body”. This, of course, shows the unconditional power of the people from the police station over the boy. Also hyperbole is used to scare the boy and make the reader’s experience stronger, when the man says he’d ‘break every bone in your body’. This next quote is an example of corruption, too, but it may also refer to poverty and inequality: “There are values and virtues and morals; there are relationships and trust and love – all of that is important. Money, however, is more important, and is dripping all the time, like precious water. Some drink deep; others thirst”. This is a great quote, because it does not only have a deep meaning, but also a few literary techniques are used – repetition in the first sentence to emphasize a feeling of the idea of corruption, poverty, inequality, that Andy Mulligan is giving to us in this quote. He also compares money to water using this metaphor: “Money … is dripping all the time”, and there’s a simile right away: “… like precious water”. Water is valuable in a lot of places in the world, like Africa, and some countries may get clean water for nothing. Also, water is liquid, and you can’t catch water, how much wouldn’t you like to.

In conclusion, “Trash” by Andy Mulligan teaches us a lot about the real world, how important friendship is, how wealth may stand aside with an extreme poverty, how inequality may affect people’s lives. It’s important to understand and, even if we cannot always see “the other side of the coin”, this doesn’t mean that your perspective is right.

Word count: 845 words

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