Pygmalion Essay

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An interpretation of Class Relations in Pygmalion

In Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, there is a distinct variance in class relations and the way that early 20th century Britains were perceived as being different by their speech, money, wealth, style, manners, and appearance. Being a lady or a gentleman was an acquired status desirable among most of London’s society. However, in Pygmalion, Shaw tells a story about the transition of a homeless young woman with the aspiration to become a respected lady.

Eliza Doolittle is an 18 or 19 year-old young women, making a living from selling old flowers on the streets. When she comes across a rude Professor, named Henry Higgins, he sarcastically offers her to “learn how to speak
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Another example is when Eliza goes to get in the taxi and the driver is trying to keep her out, assuming that she has no money to pay for the ride.

When Higgins meets Eliza, he comes across as very rude, saying:

“Woman; cease the detestable boohooing instantly; or else seek the shelter of some other place of worship……A woman who utters such depressing and disgusting sounds has no right to be anywhere – no right to live…. this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that will keep her in the gutter till the end of her days…Well sir, in three months I could pass that girl off as a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party…..”
He then goes on to call her names like “squashed cabbage leaf” ; “disgrace to the noble architecture of these columns” and an “incarnate insult to the English language”. With obviously no respect for the poor girl, he would say anything that he wants to her, with no spare to her feelings at all.

An example related to this scenario can be compared to “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, by Peggy McIntosh. In this article, she describes how gender, race and sexual preference are a problem in America. In this case, however, it is more a subcultural problem, but it is related to the way classes differ. She discusses how white people, males particularly, have “skin color that was an asset for any move one was educated

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