Thursday, February 18, 2010

I ain't got no class

Looking back at our last few books, I have come to see a common theme of people who are at odds with the upper class in some way. In Blithedale, the main character wouldn't commit himself to the community fully. In Joaquin we see the formation of a hierarchy, even amongst murderers. Joaquin is a particularly interesting example, because how the main character is romanticized. And, of course, there is the more obvious example of Daisy Miller. This week, I want to address my thoughts on the issue.

What I find most interesting is how little some things change. People still discriminate based on a lack of knowledge on unspoken social cues, even when they know the person would have had no chance to pick up such queues. Unfortunately, it is hard to say if there is a solution to such an issue. From what I've seen, people are petty and exclusive. When I say exclusive, I mean that most people, when they find a group that they enjoy, are hesitant to allow any new members that might change that group in some way. An example from Daisy Miller would be how be how people did not want to accept the Millers because it would have been a shift in the definition of aristocracy.

Another blog post I read today talked about how times have changed, and how today it's more about economic survival as opposed to morality. That, essentially, the end justifies the means. I disagree on a fundamental level. I bring this up because it is part of the mindset that justifies such ideas of exclusion. Quite simply, people view change as a direct threat. Because they attach value to the groups they belong to in their current form, they see anything that might change these groups as an attack on their very means of living. I grow sick of looking at how to survive. Even if we burn out quicker, isn't it worth it to feel the worth of really living, atleast once in a while?


  1. These are interesting thoughts about the larger issues, such as class, that the books raise. If exclusivity is valued for itself, any attempt to make a group less exclusive is going to be perceived as draining value from the group.

  2. I agree with this idea of not wanting to allow others to join your social group once you find one that you like. Tying this into "The Rise of Silas Lapham" I feel that the reason than Penelope did not marry Tom was because she is aware of these social differences and simply felt that she did not belong in that class. The whole sister excuse she gave did not make any sense especially after figuring out how young Irene is.