Topics: Working class, Sociology, Social class Pages: 10 (1879 words) Published: January 22, 2013
The rigidity of the English class system is the root of tragedy in both novels. Discuss how far and in what ways do you agree or disagree with this? In both novels the rigidity of the social class system is the main cause of the tragedy although

there are other aspects in each novel that add to the tragedy such as forbidden love, childhood

innocence and jealousy. All these factors lead to Robbie Turner being falsely accused and

later imprisoned for the rape of Lola due to Briony’s jealousy of the love that Robbie has for

her sister Cecilia, in ‘Atonement’. They also contribute to Ted Burgess suicide as a result of

his shame due to his social class and also Leo’s jealousy and childhood innocence, all this

played a role in Marian Trimingham and Ted Burgess being caught and the subsequent

tragedy that occurred such as Leo Colston’s physiological trauma in ‘The go between’.

The social divide in ‘Atonement’ was very obvious; Robbie was accepted into the Tallis

family but was never equal to them. Cecilia almost feared the relationship she had with

Robbie because of his class and the repercussions it could have for her and her family within

the upper class sociality “Why don't you talk to Robbie anymore?” “I do. We just move in

different circles, that's all.” The social divide is also obvious after Lola’s rape in the way that

it is only the men of a lower class that are questioned throwing aside the reputations that

Robbie Turner and Danny Hardman had with the family and honest, hardworking men. The

final thing that shows the class divide is when Cecilia finally confesses her love for Robbie

her family disown her and she is force to live a lower class life because the Tallis family are

scared of how their reputation would be affected if they gave their blessing for their

daughter to marry not only a lower class but one that had been convicted of rape

The social divide in ‘The go between’ is clear because of the fact that Ted comes from a

much lower class than Marian meaning there can be no possible future for the relationship

because of the social taboos involved “The past is a foreign country; they do things

differently there.”. Another way in which social divide is evident in this novel is when Leo

decides that he is not comfortable to continue being the go between Marian and Ted but

Marian pressures him into doing it with the help the power that comes with her higher

class. Although social class in the root of all the tragedy’s that happen in the novel there are

sub tragedies such as jealousy, childhood naivety and forbidden love.

Jealousy is the second biggest factor that adds to the tragedy in ‘Atonement’ because if

Briorny had not been jalousie of the clear affection Robbie had for Cecilia she would not

have opened the letter thus she would not have been so bias when she saw Lola was being

raped. Although it also seems that Briony may have been trying to seek revenge on Robbie

as age was hurt by the fact he loved Cecilia more than her and this came to a head when

Briony walked in on Robbie and Cecilia in the library. This factor of jealousy also links in

closely with childhood innocence as later on in the novel Briony realises her naivety as a

child "How guilt refined the methods of self-torture, threading the beads of detail into an

eternal loop, a rosary to be fingered for a lifetime." The fact she did not truly understand

what was going on and what the consequences of her actions would lead to and the dire

consequences it would hold for everyone involved.

Childhood innocence is the second biggest contributor to the tragedy in the novel ‘The go

between’ as when Leo begins to read the letters he is taking between Marian and ted he

becomes uncomfortable with the contents of them due to his childhood innocence and

nativity towards life....
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