Comparing Social Class in Baby of the Family and Black Girl Lost

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Social Class in Baby of the Family and Black Girl Lost

Socioeconomic indicators such as education, income, and occupation are measures of social class (Social World). The novels Baby of the Family (Ansa, 1989), and Black Girl Lost (Goines, 1973) are examined to determine the intricate role one's environment plays in dictating the type of life one leads. "The class you are born into and raised in, class is your understanding of the world and where you fit in. It's composed of ideas, behavior, attitudes, values, and language . . ." (Social World). The contrast will analyze the affect assimilation, resistance, and the environment has on social ranking.

"Ratios of people of color, as well as women, are often much
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Lena comes home from school to find someone waiting for her. In contrast, "Sandra arrived home . . .The house was deserted" (Lost 21). Class is not only a measure of money, but also security' which is lacking in Sandra's home environment.

The more one relents to assimilating into mainstream society, the better one's class ranking becomes. Assimilation to the white societal ideals is the key to class advancement. "Not all ethnic groups assimilate in exactly the same way or at the same speed. In Assimilation in American Life (1964), Milton Gordon suggested that there is a typology, or hierarchy, of assimilation, thus capturing some of the key steps ethnic groups go through . . ." (Reason 1997). The absence of education keeps people from being economically and socially integrated into the larger society and breeds alienation and resentment of their dependence (Reason 1997).

According to the article in Reason Magazine, the absence of civic responsibility keeps them from being involved in many crucial decisions that affect their lives and further contributes to their alienation (Reason 1997). In the case of Sandra, she is in little control over outcomes after she becomes involved with the dope. Events become circumstantial. She and Chink are attempting assimilation through selling drugs. Because this is illegal, the author inflicts natural consequences upon
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