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Clothing And Its Depiction Of Racial And Social Stratification

605 words - 2 pages

Clothing and its depiction of Racial and Social Stratification.
A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney is composed of dialogues, proficiently written to disguise social issues in Britain in the1950s. The conversations between the characters reveal their dynamic relationships and Delaney “dresses” each character uniquely based on their social identities and personalities: The “black” characters in the play had uniformed professions to boost their social status since uniforms are associated with “honorable” professions. Social identities based on class is best illustrated by Helen’s clothing, for example her possession of only one hat and her reaction to Jo’s request for new clothes (), however, the clothes for her wedding were new () suggest as change in class, which she could not previously afford (). Hence, the play skillfully relates clothing to racial stratification in Britain, where it was thought that “black” people were affiliated with the jungle () and social division based on wealth, which affected where they lived and level of sophistication they could afford.
All the characters in the play had names, except the black boy, who was nameless in most of the conversations and Jo’s black nurse. This namelessness depicts a lack of social identity for these characters since names are usually the first form of identity. As a result, whilst Jo and Helen had menial jobs, the choice of professions for these “black” characters required them to be learned and wear uniforms to boost their identity. Jo’s nurse’s profession would have earned her some social identity by virtue of the respect associated with her professions and enabled her mingle with people of higher social classes, thus boosting her own social identity. The “black boy” was formerly as a nurse and presently, a sailor, both ‘honorable’...

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