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The first thing I thought of when I read this statement was John Steinbeck's famous novella, The Pearl, which tells the story of a poor Mexican who one day discovers a pearl in the sea that seems to be the answer to all of his prayers as it is so massive it will surely release him and his family from the trap of poverty.
However, the possession of this pearl brings him only sadness and fear, as everybody else becomes very interested in the pearl and begins to want it for themselves. Therefore Kino, this Mexican, is hated and reviled by those who resent his luck and good fortune, and nothing but tragedy comes from his discovery of the pearl. I having included a link to the enotes study guide section on this incredible novel below for you to research it more.
Another way this statement could be defended is to argue that the only way to get ahead is to push somebody else down. Therefore all those who have been stood upon to enable somebody to get above them in the struggle for power and influence are going to resent those above them.
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