Herman Melville: No Criticizing Poor

Posted by admin on Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Herman Melville Money Quote saying best to avoid criticizing the poor if you are fat and happy – it’s presumptuous of anyone snug in their beds with a full stomach. Herman Melville said:
Do not presume, well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed, to criticize the poor Quote

“Do not presume, well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed, to criticize the poor” — Herman Melville


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In this quote, Herman Melville seems to be cautioning against people who have never experienced poverty themselves passing harsh judgments on the poor or less fortunate. Specifically:

  • Melville notes that those who are “well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed” – meaning comfortably housed, able to afford heating/utilities, and with enough food – should not “presume” or arrogantly assume they can criticize the poor.
  • He appears to be arguing that individuals who have always had their basic needs met have no authority or standing to condemn or look down upon those struggling with inadequate resources.
  • Melville implies the poor deserve empathy and understanding rather than criticism from those who have never faced the challenges of poverty themselves.

The best interpretation is that Melville believed it is hypocritical and unfair for the financially secure to pass judgment on the circumstances and hardships confronting the impoverished, since they cannot personally relate to such lack or the difficult decisions poverty often requires according to his perspective emphasizing the need for compassion over condemnation of those lacking advantages others take for granted.

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