Andy Mulligan

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Themes and Colors
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Trash, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice

Trash is a fictional story based on author Andy Mulligan’s experiences as a volunteer aid worker on a landfill in the Philippines. The book is packed with visceral descriptions of children living in abject poverty, exposing actual conditions faced by the world’s poorest children as well as the injustice of a world that largely ignores them. The story’s central protagonists, Raphael, Gardo, and Rat, are young “trash boys” who eke out…

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Corruption, Power, and Theft

Andy Mulligan’s novel Trash argues that corruption is society’s most disgraceful form of stealing. Mulligan’s story revolves around theft: impoverished children have to steal to stay alive, bribes are necessary transactions in day-to-day life, and the plot revolves around the theft of millions of dollars from the wealthy Senator Zapanta’s private vault. Despite the prevalence of theft throughout the story, Mulligan argues that theft that’s intended to help poor people stay alive isn’t theft…

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Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity

Andy Mulligan’s novel Trash is a moving tribute to the power of community and solidarity. Mulligan’s story centers on a young boy named Raphael and his two friends Gardo and Rat. They all live as scavengers, or “trash boys,” on a rotting landfill called Behala. Despite the story’s disheartening setting, the characters’ grim lives are somewhat alleviated by a sense of community. Moreover, the loyalty between the central protagonists and their solidarity with…

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Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts

In Andy Mulligan’s high-paced thriller Trash, the protagonists are three young, uneducated children named Raphael, Gardo, and Rat. The boys survive by scavenging on a landfill and they manage to outwit everyone in their story, ranging from highly-educated volunteers at a charity school to an entire police force under the control of a corrupt vice-president named Senator Zapanta. Though the boys have little formal education and Rat is illiterate, they’ve…

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