Class Symbolism In Pygmalion, By George Bernard Shaw

Decent Essays

In Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw, regionalism, or local color, progresses throughout the story. Shaw utilizes setting, dialogue, and dress to illustrate this progression and emphasize class distinction and character development within the play. The setting of Pygmalion progresses throughout the novel to symbolize Eliza’s growth. At the beginning of the story, the characters first meet as they all take shelter under a church’s roof. The scene of “pedestrians running for shelter into the portico of St. Paul’s church” (Shaw, 9) creates an neutral back drop that illustrates a clear starting point for each of the characters. Additionally, because the appearance of the church is not described, the characters’ class distinctions become clearer since they are shown side-by-side in such an indistinct setting. The day after the meeting at the church, Eliza is taken to Mr. Higgins’s home. Higgins’s home is described in more detail than the church was. “The double doors are in the middle of the back wall; and persons entering find in the corner to their right two tall file cabinets at right angles to one another against the wall. In this corner stands a flat writing-table, on which are a phonograph, a laryngoscope, a row of tiny organ pipes with a bellows, a set of lamp chimneys for singing flames…” (Shaw, 23) Shaw detailed Higgins’s house with a multitude of items not only to emphasize a setting where much of the story would take place but also to represent the overwhelming

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