98 pages 3 hours read

Margaret Peterson Haddix

Among the Hidden

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1998

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The Effects of Privilege

Privilege plays an important role in the lives of the characters in Among the Hidden, and the contrast between Luke’s family and Jen’s family communicates the idea that privilege has an impact on personal development, decision-making, and expectations.

Barons, the privileged class of Luke’s society, are introduced in Chapter 7, when Luke observes them looking at the houses in the new development. Luke doesn’t know much about Barons, but he soon finds out about privileges that separate them from ordinary people like Luke’s family when he breaks into the house next door. Inside the Barons’ home, Luke observes that “Nobody had ever stepped on these white rugs with manure-covered boots. Nobody had ever sat on those pale blue couches with corn-dust-covered jeans” (57). This imagery creates a contrast between what Luke is used to in his own home and what he’s observing in Jen’s home.

This contrast not only highlights the differences in material goods between the two classes but also the differences in working classes. While Luke’s family spends all day working in factories and farms, Jen’s family works jobs that they do not return home dirty from. The differences between Luke and Jen’s families become more pronounced when Luke learns about Jen’s life as a shadow child.