Review: Child of the Dark

969 Words4 Pages
It seems that while for some, urban life provides more opportunities, many people end up in the slums because they lack the skills or experience necessary to compete. The city does not offer enough jobs for everyone, nor does it have adequate social compensation or training programs that might help people enter the workforce. Poverty becomes a perpetual cycle. Newcomers arrive with hopes and dreams, then find themselves in a family and in a favela at the same time.

Discontent and hunger drive the people to the lowest standards possible. "Only those who have gone hungry know the value of food," says Carolina (page 53). It is not their fault that they live in filth, deprivation, and violence; these things come with extreme poverty. They become trapped in this mindset, and raise their children to survive in the same way. Children who grow up in poverty find it harder to succeed in mainstream society later on. They have the barest survival skills -- they know how to sort through garbage, beg, and steal -- but they lack the refinement characteristic of the higher classes. They also face discrimination from employers and others, so that it is difficult to rise above where they came from. Thus the cycle continues, and only a few escape the trap.

It seems that urbanization is harder on women than men. The primary reason for this is that women are liable to get saddled with children, often without fathers to help raise them. Women who are separated from their matrilineal clans - such as the Guajiros - no longer have access to birth control. Also, they are encountering a new phenomenon: men have the ability to leave them pregnant and alone. In their own clan, their kin would have helped raise the children; this is no longer the case once the woman is alone in the city. Overall, men have it easier because they are not required to help raise any children that they have produced. Nor do they have to carry the infant, a state that is an impediment to work or any kind of physical labor. Thus they are more likely to be hired, hold a job, and remain independent.

Were Carolina independent, she might have been able to save money and get herself out of the favela. However, she fell into the same trap that captured many women: single motherhood.

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