Great Expectations and Social Structure in the Victorian England

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Class is a complex term, in use since the late eighteenth century, and employed in many different ways” (Victorian Web). Social class arises from different individuals-some rich, others poor, and others a combination of both. In proving one’s social class, the upper class would have to show their possessions to other individuals to show there superiority, but the middle classes would have to be industrious workers in order to provide for their families. Pertaining to the rise of social class through industry and possessions in the Victorian era, Dickens’ evidently shows the motif of the rise in social class through the characters of Great Expectations. In the Victorian Era, the industrious workers of the middle and working classes had to do strenuous tasks in order to take care for the families and have a complacent lifestyle. On the contrary, the upper classes were wealthy landowners who often did not work and often subdued themselves to different luxurious indulgences. In the 2nd Industrial Revolution, the rich indulged in luxuries while the middle and working classes need to work to cater for themselves. Evidently, the upper class in the Victorian Era indulged themselves in exorbitant experiences instead of being a laborious worker. The origin of the aristocracy was first proven when they exposed their lifestyle, however, Kenneth Morgan implies, “ The aristocracy came to be known to the urban population chiefly through their representation in the popular press and magazines as men and women as leisure: racing, hunting, shooting and fishing in the country, gambling and attending the season in London” (493). Individuals in the aristocracy dismissed the industrious part of their lives and turned to leisure. The rich have thei... ... middle of paper ... ... England. Although the 2nd Industrial Revolution emphasizes the motif of different social classes through possessions and work in Great Expectations, but we should remember that social class does not exemplify how one makes the correct decisions on how to live their life. Works Cited Dickens, Charles, and Charlotte Mitchell. Great Expectations. London: Penguin, 2003. Print. Landow, George P., ed. The Victorian Web, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. . "Learning Victorians." British Library, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2014. Mitchell, Sally. Daily Life in Victorian England. Westport: Greenwood, 1996. Print. Morgan, Kenneth O. The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford UP, 1984. Print. Soldahl, Nohal J., ed. Victorian Upper-Class Men and their Daily Lifestyle, 2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.

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