16 September 2014
A Hike through the Canyon: Social Classes
Social classes in America have been a rising issue. Many People don’t think that social classes matter very much, they believe that you are either rich or poor: there is no real in between. Whereas there are really nine classes with top out of sight being the highest class and bottom out of sight being the lowest class. In between though there is seven other classes: upper, upper middle, middle, high proletarian, mid proletarian, low proletarian, destitute and bottom out-of-sight. This is made very clear Paul Fussell’s book Class: A Guide Trough the American Status System. Fussell makes these classes very clear and well defined. In the film Grand Canyon directed by Lawrence Kasdad, characters representing different classes come together and form relationships. The main one being the upper middle class lawyer Mack and a high prole tow truck driver Simon. The two meet and gain insight on how different classes behave and act. This gives one another a special look into another social class. The different classes expressed by Mack and Simon in the film Grand Canyon are shown by the clothing worn, Housing and job titles.
Mack always wears clothing that is a dead giveaway to him being a upper middle class male. This can be expressed through the clothing that he wears. For example, Mack always wears a suit and tie to his office where he works. This is a sign of being in a upper middle class individual. This can be proven with Fussell’s comment on the matter of clothing. “Anyone with money can learn to be uncomfortable in anything but a Brooks Brothers suit”(Fussell 60). This shows that Mack is a higher class because he is always wearing a plain colored dark suit that is not very noticeable and modest. Many upper middles like Mack have fitted suits. Mack even says that he prefers fitted suits. Fussell says how fitted suits can show a sign of class “The distinction impointing to is not one between the tailored clothes of the fortunate and the store clothes of the others, for if you try to get a perfectly fitting suit collar off the rack or at least altered to fit snugly. The difference is in recognizing this as a class signal”(Fussell 63). This shows that Mack knows that by wearing a tailored suit he is showing off his higher class. We can conclude that Mack shows his class by his clothing.
As we could see Mack’s attire showing his class we can also see this in Simon’s attire. Simon is a high prole and tends to dress like one. For example, Simon’s wardrobe mainly consists of jeans, tee-shirts, and baseball caps. This is a big signal that Simon is a prole. For example Fussell links wearing these types of clothing as being lower class, “if you gauge peoples proximity to prole status by the color and polyester content of their garments, legibility of their dress is another sign”(Fussell 56). This shows that with Simon wearing a pair of jeans and a tee shirt shows that he really is prole. But because Simon tends to not ware logos he moves himself up on the social ladder. When Simon goes on a date h also wares old out of date polyester clothing that really shows that he is a higher prole. Simon also has very worn clothing because he has a lobours job that makes it unable to ware nice fitted clothing. This shows that Simon can be placed in the prole class based on his clothing.
We can also see how Mack and Simon differ in cases as we move into their homes. Mack lives in a modest sized home with a garage and a pool in the back yard. This shows that he is a higher lass than Simon because he actually has room to live in unlike Simon’s small apartment. For example Fussell states that living in a bigger home that is more set back from the street means that Mack has a higher social status “the upper-class version will be set back farther from the street”(Fussell 81). This shows that Mack’s house that has a driveway and a...
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