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The Portrait of Social Class in Daughters of the Vicar Essay Sample

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The Portrait of Social Class in Daughters of the Vicar Essay Sample

Lawrence manages to isolate the social factors that determine how life is led. This is apparent in the introduction of the Lindley family. Lawrence’s focus is not that of the contemporary political activists, however rather a psychological illusion of social class supremacy, which is often considered a class divided. The Lindley’s perceived superiority is the true dominant factor throughout the novel. DH. Lawrence gives little history about Mr. and Mrs. Lindley; instead he focuses more on Lindley’s two daughters, Mary and Louisa’s nature. DH. Lawrence allows the reader to assume that it is only the economic circumstances of Lindley’s lives that lead to their social outlook. Mr. Lindley is trapped in a small size situation and recent creation of his parish determines his income. This makes the character resentful of his financial relation to his parishioners who would have earned less than him. He creates a perceived supremacy by distancing himself from his parishioners. Lindley seems to forget his role as Vicar should be someone who possesses knowledge and spirituality and is required to provide wisdom and guidance to his parishioners. Lindley fails to lead his parishioners to the service of God and to their own salvation that earns their contempt and sets them apart from the community.

It becomes clear that the Lindley’s are poor and if Mr. Lindley were a benevolent and spiritual person then he would overcome these circumstances he’s chosen and is restricted by. Lindley’s character unfortunately stays the same throughout the novel, sacrificing his happiness to his ego’s belief in the importance of utilizing an artificially Order#31120273 1st Essay Pg.2 built social belief for his family. The setting where the novel takes place, is in the late nineteenth century, society children inherited their parents social and economical world but also they inherit their outlook on life. The great contempt and distance in which the parishioners regard the Lindley’s continues with the children as the daughters are paraded to Church every Sunday; making the local children hate the daughters. Mary and Louisa are introduced into the story as a product of their parent’s repression with small indications of an independent nature. Mary is described as having “a pure look of submission to her fate”

This description contains both prophetic irony as well as an indication of self- regard. Also ambiguous is Louisa’s opposite description as “looked up in protest” as she talks stubbornly taking opposites sides to her parents.” Louisa reveals her character as a result, through her own actions. Lawrence, in this conversation introduces a “trope” which is repeated throughout the novel to reveal and repeat Louisa’s inclination as an instinctive, primal character who is always open to different sensations eager to feel rather than relay on preconceptions. Louisa manages to develop her character as independent of her parents with her desires tuned more to the real world than just to concepts. The beginning of her individuality remains unknown and hidden. At the sisters first appearance in the novel, the reader is told Mary is “received as governess a few little daughters of tradesmen’s while,” we are told Louisa went among her father’s churchgoers.” This may have been fate, however Louisa’s decision to join into the community (for money) rather than Order#31120273 1st Essay Pg.3 “receive” shows Louisa’s willingness to mix with her peers giving her the opportunity to widen her mind through experience than with reason.

This is firmly established when the reader learns Louisa regrets the absence of Alfred, who she slightly knows and when Louisa attends Mrs. Durant, the reader is told Louisa knew the ways of the working people. Louisa has also shown a willingness to get out on her own into social environments and shows the potential for children to break free from their parents beliefs, but also stays true to the belief that the source of this ability is important to a person’s character. Lawrence introduces a new element in the form of Mr. Massey, into this world of snobbery. Mr. Massey is a character that is a socially and economically acceptable match for Mary. His proposal to Mary is a combination of all that promises unhappiness in a marriage. This forms a tragic instance of denying the soul and submitting to an “inhuman being.”

DH Lawrence turns the story metaphysic when he shows Mary’s submission and Louisa’s response. Mary giving herself up to this fate seems to come from a suicidal tendency to serve Massey who represents intellectual and legalized tyranny. Louisa isolates herself from everybody and her sister determined to never suffer the same fate as Mary and leaves to find Alfred who represents a spiritually balanced individual who does not have the physical instinct as Massey; because of his upbringing. Lawrence’s ending is his belief in the ability of characters to overcome their social circumstances and achieve progressive metaphysical union through both daughters sexual relationship. Courage comes out to be the most important in a person’s character as well as the necessity to Order#31120273 break from the social ties that are found to be most difficult to get.

-Works Cited-

GradeSaver: Overcoming the Social and Economical Circumstances in “Daughters of The Vicar” By Matthew Lunn; November 15, 2002. WWW.Gradesaver.com/classicnotes/titles/sons/essay1.html

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