How Class and Social Structure of the Victorian Era Is Reflected by the Literature of the Time

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Reading the headlines of today’s newspapers, one will nearly always come across an article focusing on a fight for equal rights between genders or races, the race and revolutions of countries in becoming a democracy and the uprising of societies against constricting governments. However during the Victorian Era, a structured hierarchical environment was not only accepted but was considered to be of the upmost importance in society’s continuous survival. Victorian Literature allows readers to gain a critical insight into the class and social hierarchy of the era, by outlining the extensive amount of guidelines and restrictions applicable to each class and therefore how these affected their attitudes and general existence. The poems ‘Rules…show more content…
Being born into the working class, usually meant poor or no education, which then in turn meant the child was forced to work as part of the laboring class. This would commence from a young age and then continue into adulthood, most people probably receiving little or no pay. What began was a constant and continuous cycle of poverty that for most was impossible to break. Despite deriving from the lower classes, Smith has been fortunate enough to not only be educated but also knowledgeable enough to know not to waste it. This autobiographical piece was presumably quite purposeful during its time, a tribute by Smith to those of the working classes and an almost rebellion against the system that enveloped society. It continues to be relevant today, serving to prove just how difficult the situations were of the lower class, as a result of the restrictions and confines enforced upon them. It demonstrates how rarely someone was able to break through this structure and succeed despite their upbringing and origins, but also the ability it gave them to appreciate the joy and beauty around them in life. Oscar Wilde’s, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, published in 1899, is a further example of a detailed, complicated and meticulously structured social environment, in which every character

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