Our Mutual Friend Essay

1860 words - 7 pages

Dickens shows that though the communication between the two parties is rarely shown, the classes are connected with each other and would collapse without one another. "By revealing the real links between people and classes that suspect have no connection at all, Dickens shows that these two worlds, separated from each other in thought, are physically close, each involved with the other" (Magill 4797). Multiple accounts throughout the novel show the relations in which classes survive with the help of each other. The upper-class is in control due to their power over the lower class, but without the proletariats, the aristocrats cannot survive. "the essential ties between wealth are also figured in the hypocrisy and amorality of a fashionable set" (Holmes 1). Throughout the novel, Dickens constantly connects the lower class and upper class in order to display the fact that no matter the distaste for each other, without one another, society would collapse. An example of this would be that it is through watermen, who are poor, uneducated, and unskillful men who search the river in order to find goods such as junk, wood, and any valuable item to sell. Within the first few chapters of the novel, the waterman "Gaffer" Hexam finds a body of an aristocrat, calling for aid sending more upper-class figures to investigate the body. The two classes separated by thought are constantly in collision with each other. Through the intermarriage of Lizzie Hexam and Eugene Wrayburn, another connection between the upper and lower class develops. Their marriage is a metaphor for the association two castes have with each other. Though at first their relation is not fully visible and can easily be ignored and denied due to social differences, but when Wrayburn is on what is believed to be his deathbed, they accept the marriage. As Wrayburn, a man of higher social ranking is dying, Lizzie is caring for him, helping him, and loving him. This shows that one cannot live without the other. Without being aided by Lizzie, it is questionable as to whether Wrayburn would have lived. This shows that without the poor working and supporting the aristocrats, the social superior class cannot survive.
As the classes are separate, but connected, the greatest differences between the two is the education provided. One of the most important factors of the novel is the affect education has on society and how it impacts a person, as shown through Charley Hexam's character. Due to the opportunity given to him by his selfless sister, Charley obtains the opportunity to go receive a type of education. Within that time period, Charley loses his love for his sister in order to leave his poverty stricken past behind. His mind is corrupted by his lust for social acceptance and money. In the reality of the Victorian Era, with an education one may move up in society, make a respectable life for themselves, and no longer be seen as the dirt of civilization. "one's occupation determined where on...

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