The Transformation Of A Cockney Flower Girl By George Bernard Shaw

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Pygmalion, a play by George Bernard Shaw, portrays the transformation of a cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a sophisticated society lady through the handiwork of her "sculptor," Professor Henry Higgins. She is discovered by Higgins and Colonel Pickering at Covent Garden, where Eliza is selling flowers to Pickering, while speaking her native Cockney. Soon, Eliza appears on Higgins ' doorstep to ask him to teach her proper pronunciation so that she can become a flower shop girl. This opportunity becomes her ticket to a much better life. Her rise in society is juxtaposed against another family who has the opposite misfortune. The Eynsford Hill’s were once wealthy, until the death of the husband, who was also the only breadwinner, …show more content…

Shaw also uses Higgins ' character to evoke his own personal thoughts within the play, making other satiric comments on the place of speech in British society and on "the deplorable lack of suitable training in ... phonetics," unavailable to the masses(57). In the preface, Shaw enthusiastically applauds the new scientific approach to language by phoneticians, "if only because it raised pronunciation above the intense self-consciousness and class snobbery which had always bedeviled the subject in England" (Crompton 142).
The real basis for one 's reaction to anyone 's dialect is one 's association of particular kinds of speech with particular classes and particular manners. And who determines which is better? It would seem that those who hold the purse strings, hold the power, and ultimately make the decisions. They are also the most educated. Hence, the field is leveled, when industry and capitalism combine to allow the poor to become wealthy.
Shaw compares the middle class and lower class mannerisms using Clara Eynsford Hills and Eliza Doolittle 's interaction throughout the play. Shaw 's view of the middle class begins at the start of the play, when the Eynsford Hills ' have difficulty getting a cab, thus symbolizing their economic predicament in functioning

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