Dumps to Riches

In hindsight, money can solve many problems. Some might believe it to be the savior of all debts in life. That is true–we all have goals to graduate college without debt or to travel in the city of Rome. These seem unreachable and you might find yourself grieving for that boost in your hungry bank account because God knows that that would be your ticket to success.

But no.

Having money has its cons. Wealth, pun intended, comes with a price. It comes with a great responsibility and privilege. It is a baton that forces you to choose between two paths–either you choose to carefully value and carry out this privilege responsibly or mindlessly spend it without precaution. Whatever course you choose to endure in, it has a large effect on your future.

Althea given my dad a job

Travel Studies

John Steinbeck accurately portrays the potential misfortune that can arise from money in The Grapes of Wrath. In his novel, migrants find themselves starving in worse and worse conditions driven by materialistic landowners. Their wages are cut and soon small farmers are corrupted mistreated too. These landowners misuse their positions and continually throw meandering salaries at those less fortunate.


Unknown // School Advisor

Steinbeck also characterizes landowners and bankers as monsters.

The bank–the monster has to have profits all the time.

It can’t wait. It’ll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies.

It can’t stay one size. (Pg. 33)

He is absolutely correct. Money as the ability to transform one into an unhealthy lifestyle.These landowners have adapted heartless characteristics. They behave selfishly and are blinded by their wealth and as a result they slowly lose their morals. Instead of reaching out and pushing these farmers out of their poverty, they are greedy and only desire more.

In chapter 7 of the Language of Composition, Lars Eighner shares his experience with money in his essay, On Dumpster Diving. Eighner was living in a house an apartment. As his savings ran out, he steered all his sporadic income into rent. Soon enough, he found himself able to sustain a home, but searching for his daily necessities in the dumpster–jeans, bedding, toilet paper, medicine, books, and even food.

Though this way of living is questionable, he’s formulated methods of logic. When out on the quest for different necessities, he expects that “students throw out canned goods and staples at the end of semesters and when they give up college at midterm.” With left overs, he concludes that “there is a common type of personality that carefully wraps up even the smallest leftover and shoves it into the back of the fridge.”

Unlike the wealthy landowners from GOW, Eighner is living scarcely. He uses this to his advantage and his main focus is geared toward luxury but survival. Most people closely see the value the dollar, but Eighner values sufficiency. He dedicates all funds toward his living situations and scavenges for secondary necessities. In his case, yes, money is a problem, but instead of seeing the situation negatively, Eighner has a positive mindset to see this circumstance positively.


Credit: Wetpaint

Many wealthy and well-respected people use their advantages to benefit others. Taylor Swift, American singer-songwriter, is notoriously known to go above and beyond with her fans along with various organizations, like Red Cross, Children in Need, PETA, and the Wounded Warrior Project. Taylor has donated over two million dollars to charities and despite her busy schedule, she reaches out to her supporters, sending them care packages and heart-warming letters.

Whether you like her music or not, it is agreeable that Taylor Swift is generous and uses her wealth and success to help others. She sees her success and wealth as an opportunity to spread good riches, kindness, and love to the world. It is that type of fortune that proves money to be a blessing–a blessing earned through hard work and shared with a big heart.

While money is capable of boosting egos and greed, it is only problematic when misused. Wealth has its ways of shaping the way you live your life and when blinded by the glitz and glamour that it is able to purchase, you lose sight of humanity and morals. With a good balance of responsibly valuing your wealth and having a kind heart for others, money will never be an issue. It can be a blessing and it can be the answer to lots of problems in this world.


Work hard. Earn success. Share the love.



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