ails against the grind stone to scrounge around enough money to get by. Imagine not being able to pay your bills and put food on the table at the same
time and then think about how these people felt knowing that there were people in a better economic
situation that were only getting richer. Why is it that rich people always seem to have all the luck? In the
novel Paper Moon by Joe David Brown, Addie and Long Boy Pray change that whole scenario. They’re an
example of your average run of the mill father-daughter con artist team. They take money out from under
the noses of the rich and the poor without them even noticing it. They are both poor and rich at the same
time. History seems to show that this was done by a small amount of people to remain prosperous in such
In the early thirties, people were either poor or rich. There was no middle class. The rich seemed
to get richer while the poor just got poorer, there was no in between. The only thing the classes agreed
upon was the fact that it was necessary to do anything they could to climb the financial ladder. Joe David
Brown’s interpretation of people’s dishonest actions during desperate times in Paper Moon accurately
reflects the insensitive attitudes of the wealthy during the 1930’s.
The wealthy and the poor came from different experiences and could not relate to each other.
Therefore, the conceited attitudes of the wealthy caused them to look down upon the poor and blame them
for the wrongs of society. For example, the poor felt compelled to steal in order to survive, “Good people
wept in frustration or turned to crime to feed their families” (Katz pg.24).The poor were forced to get up
and get jobs while the wealthy sat back and relaxed. The wealthy seemed to have an air about them that
made them feel superior. In these rough times they did not realize the hardships that others seemed to be
going through. Instead they condemned the desperate acts of the poor and made them appear inferior.
The immoral attitudes of society during the 1930’s caused people to lose their respect for the law.
Consequently, the wealthy used their monetary power to solicit the law enforcement. For instance, “Many
officials knew they could make a lot more money in bribes than from their regular salaries” (Napolo pg.42).
Because of this absentee nature, many things like speakeasies were able to pass right under their noses.
Those who had family members in law enforcement were able to jump away scot-free while others would
pay the price for their actions. The wealthy only thought about how their bribes would effect them, not
about how their illegal actions effect society. In a like manner, Long Boy and Addie evade the law many
times in order to benefit their well being. After attempting to sell some bottles of stolen liquor the pair got
arrested for bootlegging. Long Boy attempted to convince the Deputy that it was for a friend when the
Deputy said, “This big bootlegger hea!
h claims he don’t know the law.”People of this time tried to avoid getting into trouble any way they knew
The tragic effects of poverty on society caused those who were once wealthy to take on a false
identity so as not to seem poor. The morals of society drag people into concealing themselves from others
so as not to lose prestige in their circle of friends. For example while in line to receive soup, “People
looked down hoping their friends would not notice them” (Katz pg.14). Poverty always seems to drive
embarrassment into the hearts of people. People don’t want others to see them in a state where they cannot
even afford to feed or clothe themselves. This forced both the wealthy and the poor to hide their faces in
The over-exaggeration of the value of money caused the government to create a society that
focused on wealth. As a result, many people during the Depression forcibly took action so as not to
succumb to despair. Just as President