Working-Class Representation

2108 Words9 Pages
Literature, as a crucial part of culture, functions as the reflection of reality. According to Marx, “the mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life” (Williams 266). Superstructure, as the product of men’s spiritual processes, containing various ideological forms one of which is literature, is not determined by “the consciousness of men”, but by “the social existence” (266). Concerning working-class literature, it follows this rule as well—“the whole class produces and shapes these out of its material foundation and out of the corresponding social conditions” (267). Thus, working-class literature is created upon the contemporary status quo of the class…show more content…
In this case, Gaskell is able to make her readers have a graphic and convincing experience of working-class life through the eyes of an insider, which at the same time renders authenticity to the novel. Meanwhile, Gaskell prevents her readers from simply emotionally engaging in the story. She often comments on it from her own viewpoint during the narration. Her commentary interrupts the natural flow of the story, which stops readers from emotionally indulging into the novel too much, but forces them to reflect rationally upon the hard circumstances of working class people displayed in the book and stirs them to take action in reality. With clear awareness of readership, Gaskell takes control of the shift between narration and commentary throughout the whole novel and intentionally connects the fictional story with reality so as to impose sense of responsibility to readers. Gaskell asks middle class, the “oppressor”, to examine themselves and make a difference on what they have done and are doing to working class, the “victim”. By reading this novel, middle class may concern over the contemporary social hierarchy and the unfair treatment toward working class. Although working class people are

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