Social Class in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and Heartbreak House

3944 Words 16 Pages
Social class can be thought of as a very important indicator of who a person is.
Social class is defined as a broad group in society having common economic, cultural, or political status. Where somebody comes from can effect somebody's decision to become involved with that person or not, can effect whether that person will be hired for a job or not and can often effect they way one is looked at and treated by society. Either way, class distinction is always evident within society. Using two plays by George Bernard Shaw, the relevance of the statement, ?class distinction is always evident within society,? will be shown through the use of examples, from both texts. The specific categories of examples are, character, style and setting.
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This sudden change in character shows that an upgrade in social class not only changes the way that people look at you but that it can also have many benefits as well. Going against the thesis, there is one character, Colonial Pickering. Colonial Pickering is a friend and a safe haven to Miss Doolittle. She trusts him, and with good reason, from the beginning to the end of the play, he treats her the same, like a lady. ?Colonial Pickering is a compete contrast to the character of Henry Higgins in terms of manners and behaviour. Colonial Pickering is Shaw?s evidence that wealth and poverty can mix.? (Galens and Scampinato, 245). Most characters in Pygmalion expect the rich and poor to stay separate except for the open hearted and minded, Colonial Pickering. Throughout the play, Heartbreak House, it is clearly evident that class distinction is inevitable within society. Characters, Mazzini Dunn, Ellie Dunn and the burglar, Billy Dunn, are great examples of how many people treat others from different social ranks. Mazzini Dunn and his daughter Ellie Dunn are of the lower working class. Mazzini has spent his life working for an upper class man, Mangdan, that he believes he owes his life to, for giving him employment. However, instead
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