Social Class Influence on the Individual

Decent Essays
Social Class Influence on the Individual
“Poor as a church mouse” vs. “born with a silver spoon in your mouth” are contrasting themes in this book of hardships and life trials. In Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the main character Pip interacts with characters of various social groups. These groups directly or indirectly, help Pip understand his own opportunities and purpose in life. From these interactions, it becomes clear that social class influences how people interact and view one another as well as their opportunities in life.
Some people do not have the same opportunity as others of getting education. This contrast is shown in the life circumstances of two characters of different social classes. Joe (uncle to Pip) had
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Not only in Pip’s day, but for centuries, people have treated one another according to their wealth. Early in the history of the United States voting rights were limited by gender, race, and wealth. Only white males with property had voting rights. It was said that, “…The American class system has persisted since the nation’s birth. The notion of social equality was so restricted in the late eighteenth century that neither the term nor even the concept of equality appeared in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.”(Martin Jr. and Sullivan). Social class discrimination was a big part of this time period in Great Britain as well. Pip felt this discrimination before he had money and after he lost his money.
Today, as in Pips time period, people are categorized into social classes using various criteria. Wealth is just one of the characteristics that influence someone’s placement in a social class. Social class is defined as, “…a group of people who share a common status or position in society. Social classes represent differences in wealth, power, employment, family background, and other qualities.” (Cohen). In the past, wealth was most likely to be the biggest factor for placement in social class. Today other criteria as well would impact social class placement. For Pip, his change of income landed him in various social classes.
It is difficult but not impossible to move up in social class. Both Pip and his friend Herbert moved up in social class with the help of
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