How to Become Rich… or not…

Oh boy, How to Become Rich and Avoid Poverty is probably my favorite thing I’ve read in this class in that it is hilarious.  From the authorial note at the beginning telling you that you should read this or your friends will kill you because they are bad people, to the reasoning behind Why Men Never Trust Money Monger Ladies.  This book has so much great stuff in it it was hard for me not to read it twice.

On initial glance I found it interesting to take a look at the covers and see that each of these solicited different benefits for reading them.  The first was to become wise, the second is because your friends will kill you and women apparently as well, and the third stating that experience is all you need in life (So why are you reading this book?).  I feel I shouldn’t write too much on this because then apparently I’ll be a mad person, but I can’t help myself.  This “how to” manual combined with a guide for not getting duped or screwed over is just phenomenal. I’d say 80% of this text would be considered common sense to many audiences though some of it appears contradictory as well… My favorite being this is a book designed to tell you how to get money but then later states “If you neglect your life and seek for money, you will die” (30).  Interesting take from a text telling me I need to make money.

I’d like to end this with something I learned from this text, “Love for money is love for evil”.  I’m sure you told it straight J.C. Anorue, you gave this information away for free right?

That was a bit of a tangent there, my apologies, one of the other things I really enjoyed in this text was the section on “Representations of men and women” located on page 109 by Nici Nelson.  While Anorue wasn’t quite wrong with what he was selling, his ideas seem to resonate to a degree with the topics that Nici Nelson is laying down in this section with her discussion of the prostitute.  While Anorue doesn’t explicitly state that bad things will happen to a man who dates a prostitute, he does make it well known that women who want money and those that sleep around are problematic to his view on how to get rich.  Nelson continues in her work to state that whenever a woman is used in many of these novels that they act out a form of temptation that costs a man near everything.  She goes even to make the claim that “women are whores – at least, urban women” when discussing Kenyan novels.  The sympathy and degradation of women contributed in her initial section I found to be extreme at the least, while quite abhorrent at times.

After the usage of the urban woman as a whore, Nici roles into the idea of other representations, some of which are positive (Thank God) though others seem to follow the same pattern of degradation.  She hits on Petals of Blood’s Wanja and her character’s nuances in the manner of which she had control over men, but eventually realized that the control she thought she had was really that of men having their triumph over her (110).

After discussing the characterization of women in these novels she quickly jumps to men and sees a staggering change in that men are noted as being “criminals, thieves, or con-men” and that in these novels the authors don’t care and they set their women to stay with these men anyways.

While looking at these in tandem, Nici then moves on to look at women characterized in rural novels which essentially boils down to the exact opposite of the urban novels.  In almost every instance that Nici cites she shows that rural women are far stronger than their counterpart, they are individuals who are pillars for their families and able to be alone in many cases.  Men on the other hand in this atmosphere suffer the opposite fate seemingly put as infectious to the world in which they are placed.

I say all of this to ask the question that came to me from reading How to Become Rich and Avoid Poverty which then I blended into my reading of the Joe magazine comics; are the representations given within these two different forms of text informing the writing of these novels or is it the exact opposite occurring?

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