The Dress Lodger - Literary Essay

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Influential Prejudices between Social Classes in The Dress Lodger

In every society, individuals hold prejudices influential enough to isolate people into different classes, based on various aspects of their lives such as income, profession and even gender. In various situations in The Dress Lodger, author Sheri Holman demonstrates that the inequalities presented in a society create challenging obstacles that need to be overcome in order for strong and stable communities to develop. In the novel, suspicion and abhorrence is displayed as evolving through social hierarchy; most characters do not look at another’s situation from their point of view and automatically lead themselves to think negatively of their peers because they are different. If the people put aside their biased opinions, they could accept one another and live in harmony. Sheri Holman’s The Dress Lodger suggests that the inequalities between social classes result in mistrust and hatred that ultimately affect characters negatively; it is only when people begin to recognize that such prejudices are based on false realities, that they can finally look past their social class differences and see each other for who they are as a person. Firstly, uncertainty and detestation are present in Sunderland’s society as a result of many of the characters’ actions, which is the reason for them being affected so harshly. Initially, the citizens of the lower class mistrust doctors out of fear of being killed and used for dissection. Doctor Clanny notices this when he says “they don’t trust us, so they don’t send for us”, further proving that the individuals of the lower class do not seek medical attention, thereby leading to their death because of the mistrust created (117). As long as there is mistrust between doctors and the lower class; requesting medical aid will decrease, deaths will be the result and this cycle will repeat itself. In the novel, people from the upper class, such as Henry Chiver,...
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