Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton

Topics: Social class, Working class, Victorian era Pages: 3 (1297 words) Published: April 24, 2006
Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton
Although the people of a single nation share the same homeland, contradictory these people live in separate worlds. In the lives of the privileged and the unfortunate they are separated between their positions in the social ladder, which is defined by their financial stability. In Elizabeth Gaskell's, Mary Barton the different worlds of the wealthy is contrasted to those of the poor. Gaskell's attention to detail emphasizes the division among the two social classes, demonstrating the lavish and luxurious lives of the upper class as it is contrasted to those of the impoverish and disheartening lives of the lower class, while also developing characterization, illustrating the character's reactions to the opportunities that they have and don't have. The inclusion of dialogue becomes displays the inequality between the two social classes, reinforcing the superiority of the upper class over the lower class. Gaskell's passage becomes a social commentary on the power that one class has over the other, while the other struggles to survive through the hardships.

From the beginning the separation between the wealthy and the poor is apparent. In the first line of the passage, the narrator describes, "Wilson had about two miles to walk before he reached Mr. Carson's house, which was almost in the country" (1-3) The physical separation between the Carson family and the towns people, by living out in the country, sets the tone of the separation between the upper class and the lower class. The distance is representative of the distance of the upper class. Also the fact that Mrs. Carson, who symbolizes the wealthy, is upstairs while the servants are downstairs working just reiterates this distance. With Wilson walking through the streets Gaskell creates the setting for the lives of the poor, as she describes the "two-miserable looking women [who] were setting off on their day's begging expedition." The women illustrate the miserable...
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