Tree of Red Stars

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In all parts of the world social ranking has always been an issue to people. From early history when the Romans were the major empire to present day in the United States, social classes have always been accepted as a means for people to distinguish themselves. In Uruguay, the social classes are clearly divided and define whom people marry and how they are treated.

There is a very distinct social class system in Uruguay. This class distinction starts at the top with the landowners. This group is not at the top because of their wealth, they are there because they have the most land and power. The next tier in the class system is the business class. These are the people that own and operate all the businesses in the community. Unlike the United States, military comes next in the social chain, because they hold much power and control over the community. Next come agricultural workers, who do not hold power in society because they do not own a significant amount of money or land. The bottom tier of the social system is the beggars, or "bottom feeders," They have no money, land, power or responsibilities, which in turn brings them no respect as peers.

As seen in the end of chapter thirteen with the marriage/elopement of Cora, and the attempted marriage of Raquel, social classes were a major factor in who people married and for what reasons. In Cora's case, she wanted to marry Ramiro, a young man of no social consequence and not of the family's faith. Cora's mother was also against this marriage because Ramiro had no money and didn't look respectable. Cora's mother wanted her to marry a young Jewish lawyer, who had higher social status, was respected in the community, and made a much higher amount of money. Cora was to be forced to marry the lawyer, not out of love, but out of Uruguayan society's class beliefs.

The announcement of Raquel's wedding to Walter Diaz Varela surprised and pleased all the characters in the book. Raquel's family was not...
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