The Go Between Essay

1951 words - 8 pages

How Does Hartley suggest the differences between social classes in the Go-Between? L.P Hartley's 'The Go-Between' is a novel in which class distinction plays a major part. Many of the events that occur within the course of the novel demonstrate these distinctions and the way in which society's perceptions and the class structure govern the actions of Hartley's characters. Hartley does not merely suggest class differences, but goes as far as to make explicit allusions to the rigid social structure of the period.Hartley uses the social metamorphosis of his protagonist, Leo Colston, as a vehicle for expressing the power of the class structure over society's actions. References to the subject of class range from the evident, such as differences in clothing, to the more complex sub-textual elements of the interaction between characters. One example of a situation in which the distinction between the classes is made particularly clear can be seen in the cricket match and another in the relationship between Marian and Ted.The most striking feature of the cricket match is the difference between the clothing of the participants. The villagers wear either their working clothes or some just take off their coats and play in their normal clothes. Meanwhile the members of the Hall team are respectably attired, in their cricket whites and with appropriate equipment. Leo likens this difference to the Boer War, "The village team were like the Boers, who did not have much in the ways of equipment by our standards, but could give a good account of themselves," (page 117) (The Boers were an army with no uniform).There is also a difference between their styles of play. The village team is prepared to hit the ball with no real style, just with power. An example of this is shown in the innings of Ted Burgess, when he is at the crease as soon as a ball comes close to him, he thumps it away. The Hall team play with a sense of decorum, they play the correct strokes and look great. An example of this is shown in the innings of Lord Trimingham.Not only is there a contest going on between the hall and the villagers, but there also seemed to be some rivalry between Ted Burgess and Lord Trimingham. They both seem to be trying to impress Marian but are equal until Leo catches out Ted. This is ironic because Leo's catch ruins Ted's chance to make a big impact on Marian and how later on it is Leo who ruins the relationship between Marian and Ted. "Yet I kept my sense of the general drama of the match and it was sharpened by an awareness, which I couldn't explain to myself, of a particular drama between the bowler and the batsman. Tenant and landlord, commoner and peer, village and hall - these were the elements in it. But there was something else, something to do with Marian, sitting on the pavilion steps watching us." (Page 126-7) Also the hall team consists of gentlemen and the servants this meant the servants of the hall team are playing against their equals in the village...

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