Relativity in The Semplica Girl Diaries

Pam’s Father = farmer in small town. Had biggest farm on edge of small town. So, relative to girls on smaller, poorer farms, Pam = rich girl. If same farm near bigger town, farm only average, but no: town so small, modest farm = estate (137).

In this portion of The Semplica Girl Diaries the father is reflecting on how previously he has only bought new clothes for Pam and the kids. He reflects on the wealth Pam’s family had growing up and the guilt that he has regarding not giving her the best of everything and ensuring she is well dressed. In this section of longing for and placing value in material items, the father inadvertently brings up the relativity of wealth. This family, specifically the father are always looking at people wealthier than them and worrying about what they do not posses. They are constantly aspiring to be wealthier (more cars, more clothes, more vacations), when in reality they already possess some wealth. Especially in the eyes of less well off people or in this context the “smaller, poorer farms.”

The point is that although the family in the story is not wealthy by any means, wealth in general is relative. There will always people that have far more money than they know what to do with, and yet there even be people who have more money than them. There is always something to aspire to and be jealous of when you compare your life to others. On the other hand your “average farm” may be an aspiration for another farmer who holds you in the same regard that you have been viewing the “richer” farmers. There will always be people that have more but there will also always be people that have less.

2 thoughts on “Relativity in The Semplica Girl Diaries

  1. Katie G.

    Caroline, I agree with your assessment on relativity. I feel like this idea of relativity ties into the discussion about subjectivity/objectivity. When people are so tied up in who has more or who has less than them, they are promoting domination. Automatically, people with more wealth become objects of desire; those with less wealth become objects of inferiority. It raises the question- how can we feel secure in ourselves without labeling others as comparison points? The tendency of us to see ourselves relatively to others therefore perpetuates Freud’s theory of self.

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  2. Violet B

    Violet B

    I think that this piece is an interesting take on the relationship between the Semplica Girls and the family of the narrator. The SGs are literally being tied to the head while the narrators family is worried about their daughters birthday party. While the birthday party is a valid concern, the difference in the issues what I perceived to be the lower middle-class to the far more exploited lower-class illustrates class differences in a unique way.

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