Narrator in Mimic Men by V.S. Naipaul (first paragraph of second book)
Sunday, January 18, 2009
The Disgrace of Being Poor
"On Isabella when I was a child it was a disgrace to be poor. It is, alas, no longer so. And it astonished me when I first came to England to find that it wasn't so here either. I arrived at a time of reform. Politicians proclaimed the meannes of their birth and the poverty of their upbringing and described themselces with virtuous rage as barefoot boys. On Isabella , where we had the genuine article in abundance, this was acommon term of schoolboy abuse; and I was embarassed on behalf of these great men. To be descended from generations of idlers and failures, an unbroken line of the unimaginative, unenterprising and oppressed, had always seemed to me to be a cause for deep, silent shame."