Social class has always had an intangible presence in society; it often predetermines the lifestyle of an individual. In William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”, it is Emily’s inherited social class and family name that gives her a higher social status. Alternatively, in Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party”, it is both Laura’s family and wealth that allow her to remain in her high-class position. Social class is an important theme in both “A Rose for Emily” and “The Garden Party”, through both Emily and Laura it is evident that belonging to a higher social class provides them with an accustom to the finer things, and a greater level of respect from their community.
In “A Rose for Emily”, Emily’s age and family name exposes her to certain luxuries that few are entitled to. The sheriff of her youth declared her exemption of paying taxes. This privilege, a reward for her father’s name, is indefinite. The younger generations of the town disagree with this immunity, and when they confront Emily in her later years she simply states “I have no taxes in Jefferson” (Faulkner, 252). Although the modern townsfolk disagree with the longevity of this gift, it is ultimately Emily’s class that overrides the town’s protest. Although Emily is a burden to the townspeople of Jefferson, the community continues to show her social status respect by attending her funeral after her death. Emily had limited interaction with her community, but due to her high social status “[the] whole town went to her funeral” (Faulkner, 251). If Emily had belonged to a lower social class, few people would have felt compelled to attend.
In “The Garden Party” the advantages of belonging to a higher level of class vary, but perhaps the most obvious rewar...
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...hooses to keep to herself and avoid communication with the townspeople up until her death. While she reaps the benefits of her social class, she does nothing to maintain that position unlike Laura and her family. Laura’s household thrives on interaction; they host lavish parties and wear clothes that mirror their social standing. They enjoy projecting their level of class onto their everyday activities.
Social class is an undying concept that every individual inadvertently belongs to. Through Emily and Laura’s experiences in Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and Mansfield’s “The Garden Party”, it is clear that belonging to a high social class exposes you to more luxuries, and a provides you with a higher level of respect from lower classes. Although Laura and Emily come from very different backgrounds, they share their social standing and the benefits that accompany it.
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