novel reasearch paper redux may 5 - Social class plays a...

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Social class plays a key role in many works of literature. Ever since the time of slaves and serfs, social classes have meant a lot to society. Social classes enabled people to be broken up into rank, a kind of social pecking order. This pecking order used to separate people for purposes of honor or jobs. For example, a peasant might bow to a king. Although kings, slaves, and peasants are a thing of the past, many people still look towards social hierarchies. In Madame Bovary , Emma Bovary is consumed with the idea of excelling in her social class. Emma Bovary grew up on a farm, and married a doctor. Although her husband was moderately successful, he was not extremely so. Emma looked for someone more successful to have a relationship with. She also continually looked for reasons to go to balls and other social events. Her need for social gatherings grew with time, but it also seemed to lead to her downfall. Emma always had hobbies; she read novels, looked for religion, and looked for propriety. As the story progresses Emma becomes more and more obsessed with appearances. As stated in an article by Susanna Lee, “desire, when associated with the nouns which serve as its signifier, can only remain virtual, a possibility forever suspended. When it is articulated as the narrative of fulfilled pleasure, however, desire is linked inevitably with the alienation of repetitions of stereotype” (Lee 6). The stereotypes that Emma repeats are the kinds that she knows will bring her to another social class. Emma is desperately seeking ways to become higher in her class. Things such as training a young girl to become her maid and buying expensive things are just a start, but just about everything that Emma seeks is a way to further her propriety. The interesting part of this is that no one is pushing Emma to elevate in social standing, but Emma is pushing
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herself. As stated in Lee’s article, “Emma’s failure to be content with that suspension, her desire for God is no different than her desire for new clothes, must therefore produce frustration” (Lee 6). Emma’s pursuit of wealth was simply a hobby, which brought her into debt, because Emma was trying to be someone she was not and to pay for that life, she fell into a hole of debt, from which she never returned. Fathers and Sons is a novel about people and how they interact with each other. The plot is moved by character development, and as a result, the characters, and what they symbolize, are very important. Pavel Petrovitch, Nikolai’s brother is high in class. He is well educated, he has nice hands, a sign he does not do manual labor, and he dresses well and speaks French. Pavel looks down on Bazarov and even goes as far as to call him “that unkempt creature,” (Turgenev 16) because the thinks Bazarov is lower than him in class. But Bazarov does not seem to be bothered by social class; he can even empathize with the peasants. Bazarov is a very nice character who does not seem to be too caught up in social standards. This is illustrated when Turgenev writes that Bazarov
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