According to Paul Fussell, and his essay, class is a “touchy subject.” Class is often noted as “any group of plants or animals.” However, when it comes to defining class as social distinctions, the word becomes more complex. The social class structure has remained “murky” over the years, and to most Americans, extremely complicated. In today’s society, social class has become more and more intricate, but it has never been set to where Americans feel comfortable in their own skin.
Today, when talking about social class, people tend to get upset about the subject. They tend to “first straighten their ties and sneak a glance at their cuffs to see how far fraying has advanced there.” In R.H. Tawney’s book Equality, The word “class is fraught with unpleasing associations, so that to linger upon it is apt to be interpreted as the symptom of a perverted mind and a jaundiced spirit.” However, some go as far as calling the thought of social classes “America’s forbidden thought.” Since the Industrial Revolution, social classes have been fixed in with names that distinguish one social class to another. For example, the names that have stayed with American’s today, are the lower class, middle class, upper class, working class, and so on. Yet, when the “touchy subject” is brought about, the way a person acts by the amount of wrath, or aggravation says a lot about their social class.
A trend that middle class people tend to show when asked about the subject is to feel very anxious and nervous, suggesting that they might be “slipping down a rung or two.” On the contrary, upper class individuals liked to be asked about their social class because they like to flaunt it. “The more attention paid to them, the better off they seem to be.” Proletarians usually do not seem to mind the “touchy subject” because of their inability to change their social class. Besides the attitudes expressed by the different social classes, there are different values that distinguish different social classes. For example, the people at the bottom of the totem pole believe that social class is determined on the amount of money that someone has. In the middle class, they believe that money and education are equally important, but also the work that is put into the both of them. The higher class perceives “taste, values, ideas, style, and behavior are indispensable criteria of class, regardless of money, occupation, or education.” However, social class does not have to be determined by these different values, American’s seem to conform to the values set by their social class.
In America, class distinctions become more and more complicated and...