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Word Count: 1,520
Both Gabrielle Roy and David Adams Richards have delved into the reality of poverty among Canadian families Roys novel The Tin Flute depicts the pain and hardship of poverty through her portrayal of the Lacasse family Florentine Lacasse fervently attempts to detach herself from her familys financial situation only to realise that it is a battle she cannot win Similarly the Hendersons must endure the misery that has been brought upon them by their poverty in Richards Mercy Among the Children Lyle the eldest boy is conflicted between his familys desolation and his pursuit of economic power While Florentines hopes and wishes conceal the harsh reality that is her poverty Lyles anger prevents him from confronting it Both attempt to resolve their issues through relationships physical appearance and charity only to feel isolated from society in the end The poor often seem to believe that if they associate with rich people their wealth might be transmissible to them For her family to afford their pitiful home in the working-class neighbourhood of St Henri in Montreal Florentine must work as a waitress at the Five and Ten There she meets Jean Leacutevesque a young man who Florentine believes is her ticket out of poverty It seemed to Florentine that if she leaned closer to him she would breathe the odour of the great exciting city She could see St Catherine Street the department-store windows the elegant Saturday-night crowd Sometimes not often she had gone out with boys but theyd only taken her to the neighbouring movie house or some dingy suburban theatre How this unknown young man made the lights shine brighter the crowd seem gay and springtime on the point of burgeoning in the wretched trees of St Henri Roy 17 Florentine interprets downtown Montreal as a glamorous place exclusively accessible to the wealthy Desperate to break away from the monotonous routine of St Henri she believes Jean will rescue her
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