The Role of Class in Evelina Essay

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The Role of Class in Evelina

What is the definition of "class"? Burney expresses how class is viewed in the eighteenth century society through the novel Evelina. In the novel, Burney exposes to the reader different classes of characters from the aristocrats to the merchants to the commoners and to the prostitutes. Burney also reveals how different character defines the word "class." Madame Duval thinks money and material are sufficient qualifications to belong to the high society. Mrs. Beaumont believes that a person's class is set by birth; the social class one is born into defines one's social status. However, Burney seems to disagree with both of the characters. Through the character of the heroine Evelina, Burney
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He takes his revenge on Evelina as he abashes her in public and accuses her of being ill mannered. Behind her back, he destroys her reputation by calling her a country "nobody"(pg35). Upon another encounter, he twisted her status to "toad-eater" as he deliberately inferiorities her class and describes her as a companion to Miss Mirvan. Being vicious as he is, He believes that by establish the commonality of Evelina's social status, she will not be able to be accepted by the elite social class. Not only did Burney point out the importance of social ranking, she, at the same time, exhibits the ill nature of those who make use of such information regarding other peoples' status to their advantage.
Burney seems to be criticizing the double standard treatment of people who lacks "class" and those who has high status. She disapproves the conduct of people in the novel who have the characteristic that appears to be "changing with the tide." Mrs. Beaumont's character is satirically described as the "absolute Court Calendar bigot." (pg. 284) Her idea of class is illustrated by her belief that birth is virtue. Her previous association with Evelina let her to believe that Evelina is a woman of quality. However, she is soon disappointed to find out that Evelina is a "mere country gentlewoman"(pg284). Similarly, Lady Louisa and many other social elites who reside under the

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