The Social/Economic Upper-Class in England in Mrs. Dalloway, Sense and Sensibility, and The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Social/Economic Upper-Class in England in Mrs. Dalloway, Sense and Sensibility, and The Picture of Dorian Gray

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The social/economic upper-class in England in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray are depicted through the characters’ lifestyles, wealth, and behaviors. Woolf, Austen, and Wilde give insightful portrayals of the characters by emphasizing their social roles in the England society. Their portrayals of the characters suggest that they are critical of the upper-class’ factitious lifestyles.
Members of England’s social/economic upper-class in Woolf’s, Austen’s, and Wilde’s literary works are distinguished by their lifestyles. In Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, the upper-class appear to have a simple and comfortable life. One of Woolf’s focuses of the upper-class’ lifestyle is Clarissa Dalloway. Clarissa’s lifestyle consists of planning and hosting social events for the members of the upper-class. When Woolf says, “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. For Lucy had her work cut out for her” (Woolf 3), he notes that it is not often that the upper-class women carry out their own duties. The women are also perceived as lazy because they do not have to work for a living. The upper-class women spend much of their leisure time shopping, maintaining their social role by attending social gatherings, and indulging in their desires. They seem to live a lavish lifestyle because “they lived with everything they wanted” (Woolf 111), whether it was “breakfast in bed” (Woolf 111), or having servants to do their work for them.
Austen’s Sense and Sensibility provides detailed perceptions of the upper-class lifestyles. Similar to Woolf’s descriptions in Mrs. Dalloway, the aspects of the upper-class in Austen’s novel imply that they live a relaxed lifestyle....


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...hasize the influences that the upper-class social status has on a person’s lifestyle, behavior, and perspective of others. They also emphasize the social expectations and restrictions for the upper-class women, including their social role, appearance, and personalities. It is indicated from the authors’ literary works, that people are judged based on their social position. Woolf, Austen, and Wilde’s portrayals of the upper-class in their literary works show that an upper-class social status does not ensure happiness.


Works Cited

Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. Ed. Stephanie Stark. London: Penguin, 2002. Print.

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Michael Patrick Gillespie, Editor. Norton Critical Edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2007.

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs Dalloway. London: The Hogarth Press 1925. London: Penguin books, 1996.

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