Whilst Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and Lincoln in the

Topics: Novels

Whilst  and “Lincoln in the Bardo”by George Saunders are two contrasting novels that were written in different periods of English and American literature and have dissimilar plots, the theme of the role of the social status emerges in both works. Shaw wrote the play in the spring of 1912, at the peak of the Edwardian era. Writers of the time focused on the bigger picture, in comparison to the Victorian period. Their subversive ideas about the disparity between social class and family hierarchies, were presented metaphorically, symbolically, and in opposition to the liberating force of nature.

“Lincoln in the Bardo”, written in 2017 is an experimental novel, which brings the genre of historical fiction to a new level. It belongs to the Postmodernist movement, in which literature was characterised by an assortment of narrative techniques such as having an unreliable narrator and presenting a story from a number of perspectives, both of which can be traced in this novel, as Saunders presents his ideas in a completely revolutionary way through the narrative style, structure and language.

Whilst these authors seem to be similar in that they use techniques typical to their genres, they also seem to share their views on the impact of social class.

In both books a high position in the society appears vastly important and insignificant at the same time, depending on the circumstances the characters find themselves in. Furthermore, both texts depict the disastrous effects of the pursuit of money and status, as well as controversial opportunities of the societal equality and its outcome.

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Whatever rung, class, caste or financial position the majority of humans find themselves in having a natural desire to elevate their social status or material position in society. However, as soon as they achieve what they think they want, they actually become unsatisfied always wanting even more. In addition, maintaining a high position in the society frequently leads to unhappiness and moral downfall, leaving them questioning if it was worth ‘fighting’ for?

George Benard Shaw’s Pygmalion addresses an individual’s capability to advance through society, an idea as old as social distinction. The reader meets Eliza in the very beginning as a flower-girl with ‘cockney’ English. However, she is not an exception and as many others, she wants to elevate her position in the society: ‘I want to be a lady in a flower shop stead of selling at the corner of Tottenham Court Road.’ She is ambitious enough to come to Higgins by herself and ask him to give her lesson, by almost provoking him: ‘He ain’t above giving lessons, not him: I heard him say so. Well, I ain’t come here to ask for any compliment; and if my money’s not good enough I can go elsewhere.’ At that point she thinks she knows exactly what she wants and that can be seen in her affirmative and determined language: ‘I want’, ‘I’m come to have lessons, I am’, I’m ready to pay.’

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Whilst Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and Lincoln in the. (2019, Nov 26). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/whilst-pygmalion-by-george-bernard-shaw-and-lincoln-in-the-best-essay/

Whilst Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and Lincoln in the
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