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Trash Analysis

Trash, by Andy Mulligan, is a Robin Hood-esque novel that details the journey of three boys who uncover a political scandal in their region. As the three boys, Raphael, Gardo, and Jun-Jun, are picking through a huge trash pile in their home town, looking for items to sell, as many of their neighbors do, Raphael finds a bag that contains money, a key, an image of a school girl, and a map. The boys hide the items once the police begin inquiring about its whereabouts. As the police continue to aggressively search for the missing the wallet, the boys realize that they have found something more meaningful than they originally understood. Upon further investigation, the three friends realize that they have stumbled upon a case of political corruption and scandal.

The novel certainly explores how politicians and police use their positions of power to their own benefit, regardless of the moral cost or cost to human lives. In the novel, the reader learns that through their initial discovery, the boys have uncovered a political scandal in which the vice-president of their unnamed country has stolen an immense amount of money ($6 million) that was supposed to go to aiding poor folks. While the police attempt to torture and coerce the boys into revealing the location of the wallet and money, the three friends manage to thwart their attempts and locate the stolen money.

This victory on the part of the three young friends, who come from the poorest area of the region, signifies a victory of good over evil and reveals that those who are oppressed by governments and class hierarchies can still fight back. When the boys eventually find the $6 million dollars, they split some of the money, and then, in an act of solidarity with their fellow economically poor neighbors, scatter the rest of the money in the dump, so their neighbors can later find it. This particular moment in the novel really emphasizes the class solidarity and fight against centralized power and corruption.