Pathedy of Manners
In “Pathedy of Manners,” Ellen Kay describes an honored young girl living in the upper class, which married and had an ideal family. After living the upper class life, as she thought, was great; but, Kay interprets the young girl’s life turning around. Kay’s main point is to show that there is more to life than living for money. In the beginning, Kay presents the speaker describing a young twenty- year old female who was honored and brilliant. Kay uses many words that can symbolize the same meaning to describe the girl. In the first stanza, the words brilliant, adored, and Phi Beta Kappa all symbolize positive similes of this girl. The girl that Kay describes is in an honors club, which symbolizes that she is smart. As Kay presents the speaker in the second stanza saying, “She learned the cultured jargon of those bred to antique crystal and authentic pearls…..”(Lines 5-6), this is supporting the upper class. This shows that she has learned the language of those raised in the upper class with the upper class crystals and pearls. In the third stanza Kay quotes, “ She hung up her diploma, went abroad, saw catalogues of domes and tapestry, Rejected an impoverished marquis, And learned to tell real Wedgwood from a fraud” (9-12). She finished her school then grew known as anyone who lived in the upper class would do. She denied a non- upper class nobleman and she learned to tell the real pearls from the fake. Life started turning for this young girl in the fourth stanza. Kay has the speaker interpret that the girl is now realizing that her home life led her to support. She had married a man whose pearls were real. They had a perfect family including ideal children. Now seeing her twenty-three years later, her husband deceased and children gone, she was now alone, currently thinking of what might have been or what she might have missed out on. Kay has the speaker interpret “She shuns conviction, choosing to infer Tenets of every mind except her...
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