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Great Expectations And Brave New World On Social Class

1287 words - 6 pages

The environment and economic situation an individual develops in has a great impact on the individual's characteristics and actions later in life. Throughout the events of Brave New World and Great Expectations it becomes apparent that social class deeply influences the mental state and actions of the characters. Social class has an immense impact on the characters in Huxley’s novel Brave New World and Dickens’s Great Expectations.
Throughout Great Expectations the importance of social class in the novel is discovered, and the emphasis on the subject is apparent. Every character in the novel, whether it be a lowly criminal like Magwitch, or a wealthy aristocrat like Miss Havisham, is ...view middle of the document...

52-53) Miss Havisham has a narrow minded mentality that all the members of the society who belong to the lower class are savage like people who she should not casually affiliate with. Miss Havisham sees people of the lower class as being objects and laborers rather than people, this is one aspect of the dangerous mentality they wealthy people in society have which bar them from moral wealth. Many of the characters who are members of the upper class in the novel have the same mentality that Miss Havisham does; this shows how many of the people in the upper class conform to their classes through their actions and thoughts. This conformity takes away what makes an individual an individual; this is very different from the way people of the lower class like Magwitch act. Magwitch, although he may be thought of as a criminal and a degenerate by society, has great moral worth. In “Dickens and the Scandalmongers Essays in Criticism.” Edward Wagenknecht states that it is “undeniable that pip is tremendously class-conscious” Throughout most of the novel Pip is characterized as very materialistic and wants to be a “gentleman” more than anything. However Pip discovers closer to the end of the novel he realizes that inner worth is more valuable than material riches, contrary to his initial beliefs.
In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley presents the dystopian world of the “World State.” Like the town of Kent in Great Expectations the World State is socially segregated. However in the World State the social classes are not segregated based on wealth, but is predetermined at birth. The government of the world state wields the dangerous power of medical technology, and abuses this power by forming the five major castes; the Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. Each member of society is designated to a caste by the method they were conceived. Alphas and Betas dominate the World State and the Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons act as mere labors serving the interests of the Alphas and Betas. The Upper class Alphas and Betas found a way to control the society through inhumane methods of damaging the state of mind the lower class citizens are in. The lower class are prenatally deprived of oxygen to stunt the development of the fetus and thus causing birth defects, the upper class also synthesized the drug “Soma” in order to brainwash and control the minds of the lower class citizens. All of these methods are used to pull wool over the eyes of the lower class citizens and obscure and make them oblivious of the atrocities committed against them. Without refraining from conforming to the society of the World State, an individual can not achieve human consciousness; Josephine McQuail presents this in her essay “Alienation in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.” Without separating...

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