Inequalities in Social Class

In our Twentieth Fiction course, we have read many interesting novels so far.  My blog will discuss a similar theme between the four novels, Mrs. Dalloway, As I Lay Dying, Untouchable, and Their Eyes Were Watching God – inequalities between social classes.  In the 1925 novel, Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf depicts the importance of social class post World War 1, through the eyes of the main protagonist, Clarissa Dalloway.  Clarissa is from a high social class and appreciates her high status whereas Mrs. Kilman and Ellie Henderson are inferior to Clarissa due to their low social class.  Due to her high social class, Clarissa only interacts with the people whom have the same social class as her.  However, Faulkner’s 1930 novel, As I Lay Dying, doesn’t portray any kind of inequality in social class.  Instead, Faulkner shows the poverty and difficulties of a poor family in the Mississippi.  As we read the novels of Anand and Hurston during the late 1930’s, we notice a gradual evolution in the inequalities between the social classes since the inequalities lead to domination or racism.  In Anand’s1930 novel, Untouchable, Anand depicts the inequality between social class in terms of domination between the Pundit and Sohini; the Pundit is a Brahmin and most importantly, a man, whereas Sohini is an untouchable and even more important, a woman.  Therefore, the Pundit uses two intertwined methods of domination, gender and social class, to control Sohini.  Similarly, in the 1937 novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston depicts the inequality in social class in terms of racism through the marriage of Logan Killock and Janie.  Logan Killock is a white, comes from a high social class, and is wealthy as he has sixty acres of land whereas Janie is an African American and she comes from a low social class.  In order to achieve a high social status and wealth, Janie marries Logan, only to not receive any love from him.

Based on the literary – historical trajectory in all the four novels, I notice how all of these novels were written post World War 1.  In these novels, there is an inequality between the upper class and low class, however, the inequality between the social classes starts to elevate during the 1930’s.  In the 1930’s, not only is there an inequality in social class, but new inequalities arise in terms of race and gender.  These new inequalities cause the upper class to discriminate and dominate the lower class based on their inferiority in race, social class, and gender.

Leave a Reply