One of my favorite topics about which to write is the struggle of the poor and the innate prejudice between the rich and those living in poverty (in regards to the 18th and 19th centuries). A few years ago, right after I saw Tom Hooper's Les Misérables, I began a novel about a young French orphan named Aurélien Courtemanche and his struggle to survive on the streets of Compiègne during the late 1800s. Unfortunately, it never got any longer than 32 pages, but researching the living conditions of French beggars during the 1800s was fascinating and heartbreaking, and the subject of the poor vs. the rich remains a special one to me. In fact, my 900+ page story, The Rat Race, deals immensely with this topic; if I had to give you an extremely quick summary of this story, I would say it resembles a world where The Hunger Games meets the Olympics and The Great Gatsby (maybe with a little bit of Les Misérables thrown in there somewhere).
Anyway. I say all this so you'll understand my love of Mumford & Sons' song, "Dust Bowl Dance." I discovered it a few weeks ago on an album that my friend N.B. gave me a year or two ago, and it has been playing on repeat for the past week :D There are few songs that really capture the spirit of a story I'm writing, and while The Rat Race does not take place in the Depression era, "Dust Bowl Dance" reminds me strongly of its protagonist, Sam Decker, who is living in extreme poverty when The Rat Race begins.
Another song that inspires me regarding this theme is "At the End of the Day" from Les Misérables; it was after watching this scene in particular that I decided to write a story about extreme poverty. Every time I listen to this song, it sparks something in me that I can't quite explain. Is it pity? Perhaps. Or maybe it's compassion, I don't know. Either way, we haven't all been blessed with a beautiful home, three meals a day, clean water, and a Christian family, and I am humbled when I think of how blessed I truly am to have all these things. Writing about extremely poor conditions gives me a small glimpse into the lives of people who must deal with poverty every day, but thankfully, I am able to leave, whereas they are not. So I leave you with these thoughts from Deut. 15:7-8 and 1 Sam. 2:7-8:
"If there is a poor man among your brothers ... do not be hardhearted or tight-fisted toward your poor brother. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs."
"The Lord ... raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor."
Be thankful for what you have, and always extend compassion to those who have less. God bless! :)