In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “That Stings!.”
Just finished reading “The Ladies’ Paradise” and as often with Zola what stood out was the description of pain, fear and everyday indignation, that defined the existence of the poor working masses in 19th century France.
In some ways it made me think how bad things were and how far we have come. For example, pensions, social security like unemployment benefits, national health service, medical and maternity benefits, relative job security, some sort of gender equality and the ability to live with a great degree of dignity. Hard to imagine life without these basic necessities which we take for granted and how it took humanity such a long time to get here. True, not all parts of the world are there yet. So we can’t claim this victory just yet.
What is also fascinating is that even in the 21st century, conditions in many parts of the world are still very similar to the world described in the book, even though the two maybe thousands of miles and two hundred years apart from each other.
There are still many parts of the world with no benefits or social safety net for its citizens, where men (and women) still expect women to bow to their wishes, where regular access to food and shelter for a lot of people is a luxury, where life for many is good if it is not on the street and is lived in a constant fear of ending up on the street, where the value of a person is determined by their income, where this perceived value determines how the person gets treated by others, where the most familiar emotion is probably fear or despair, where having morals or virtues is a luxury of the rich or the folly of the thick.
How much longer will it take before we get to a point where everyone can expect to live in peace and dignity no matter their birth or place in society.
There is so much more I wish to write about it that I would have to say,
To be continued………