Appropriation Of A Key Text From The Past

1364 Words May 6th, 2015 6 Pages
Year 11 Preliminary Extension English 2015
Essay: Appropriation of a Key Text From the Past

Pygmalion – George Bernard Shaw
Pretty Woman – Garry Marshall (dir.) 1990

Question: How have the texts you have studied explored social values?
George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion and its appropriation, the movie Pretty Woman directed by Garry Marshall both explore the social values of class, namely the construction of the class system and class divisions, individual independence of the female heroine in a patriarchal society and the significance of appearance and identity on the perception of one’s character. Both texts convey these values relative to their respective contexts of Victorian England and modern day American society through the transformation of the behaviour and appearance of a lower-class young woman, which subsequently allows her to pass off as an upper class lady. However, as a result of this transformation, the validity of rigid class constructions and the desirability of high social class are questioned, as are the feasibility of female independence in the upper classes and the use of appearance as a basis for judgement on character and identity.
Shaw’s Pygmalion demonstrates that social mobility can be achieved by means of language, establishing the prominence of language in determining class and its role in creating distinct class divisions. The following metaphor, describing language as being the “...deepest gulf that separates class from class and soul from…
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