The Social/Economic Upper-Class in England in Mrs. Dalloway, Sense and Sensibility, and The Picture of Dorian Gray

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The social/economic upper-class in England in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray are depicted through the characters’ lifestyles, wealth, and behaviors. Woolf, Austen, and Wilde give insightful portrayals of the characters by emphasizing their social roles in the England society. Their portrayals of the characters suggest that they are critical of the upper-class’ factitious lifestyles. Members of England’s social/economic upper-class in Woolf’s, Austen’s, and Wilde’s literary works are distinguished by their lifestyles. In Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, the upper-class appear to have a simple and comfortable life. One of Woolf’s focuses of the upper-class’…show more content…
When Austen states that “the man and one of the maids were sent off immediately into Devonshire” (Austen 21), she indicates that the Dashwood’s servants perform all of their household duties. The upper-class women spend their leisure time attending private balls and parties hosted by the elite, whom they also mingle and journey with. When Austen says that Lady Middleton “had the advantage of being able to spoil her children all the year round” (Austen 25), she suggests that the upper-class live a luxurious lifestyle because they are able to indulge in whatever their heart desires. In Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, he describes the lives of the upper-class by detailing their pleasurable lifestyle. Much like the upper-class’ lifestyle in Mrs. Dalloway and Sense and Sensibility, their lifestyle include attending social gatherings and upholding their outer appearances in high esteem. Wilde notes that the upper-class like to associate themselves with people of the same social importance. Lord Henry’s statement that “there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about” (Wilde 4), implies that maintaining their social importance in the society was a daily responsibility for the upper-class. Lady Narborough, much like Clarissa in Mrs. Dalloway, does not have a profession. Therefore, in her spare time she “devoted herself now to the pleasures of French fiction, French cookery, and French espirit when she could get it”

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