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Social Hierarchy In Under The Lion’s Paw By Halim Garland

1257 words - 5 pages

The social hierarchy is something that is hard to escape wherever you are, but our society has made it almost impossible to ignore no matter how old you are or how good of a family you come from. In Hamlin Garland’s short story, “Under the Lion’s Paw,” there is a slew of social hierarchy and power for wealthiest man in the story; while the poor man is just looked at as nothing. This happens in our society everyday and it can hurt the people under ridicule so much, surprisingly nothing is ever done to fix it. Consequently letting the predicament continue to get worse. Furthermore, shouldn’t social hierarchy be based on more than just the amount of money you make? It is preposterous to not consider who that person is in society; like what they do to better our community, how they carry themselves and treat other people, and the history of their families. If we continue to base the worth or rank of the people in our world, we will continue to pass up people that could do so much for our world, but are never given a fair chance because of how we rank usefulness in this world.
In Garland’s short story we are presented with three different parties: the Council’s, the Haskin’s, and Butler. Mr. and Mrs. Council are a “lower-middle class” family that works hard for their money and does all the farming themselves to keep up their land. The Haskin’s are a family from out of town that are just coming into town and looking for a new place to stay and make a new life out of. Finally, there is Butler; who is one of the wealthiest landowners in the town and rents a piece of his land to the Haskin’s. Mr. and Mrs. Haskins may be down on their luck, but were always grateful and diligent in order to take advantage of the things they were given throughout the story. We understand how studious and dedicated they are when the narrator says this: “Haskins worked like a fiend, and his wife, like the heroic little woman that she was, bore also uncomplainingly the most terrible burdens” (Garland, 742). From the beginning, the readers see how the social hierarchy plays a huge role in how you go about living in this town. The Council’s are genuinely good country people who would do anything to help others out, no matter what their financial situation may be. We see this when Mr. Council says this to Mr. Haskins while he is trying to thank him for his giving heart; “Hold on now; don’t make such a fuss over a little thing. When I see a man down, an’ things all on top of ‘im, I jest like t’kick ‘em off an’ help ‘im up. That’s the kind of religion I got, and its about the only kind” (Garland 742). Therefore, this shows just how good of a person Mr. Council is and how, even though he doesn’t have the money to spare, he is willing to give them whatever they need. You would think that someone who has everything going for them in life would be more giving than someone who has only the necessities, but as we can see that never holds true.
Why do people just associate the amount of...

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