Climbing Up the Social Scale

Topics: Social status, Sociology, Social class Pages: 3 (1329 words) Published: October 28, 2005
Climbing up the Social Scale

The time and way people are brought up in society makes a huge difference on how they will climb up the social scale in life. In the classic novel House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton and Call it Sleep, by Henry Roth the main characters experience totally different upbringings into society. While Lily Bart is brought up into a high class society, David is born into an immigrant family in a part of the city, which has similar people as his own country. The two characters in the novels both have different and some similar views on how to climb up on the social scale. Although they would give different advice to each other on how to climb the social scale, and have different views on life, one thing that would be common would be to have money. In the novel The House of Mirth, Lily Bart is introduced to us as a rich, single lady in the 1900's. She is brought up into an upper class society, where the society is based on people that have "old money". In her society, people who want to climb the social scale, must have money, and must have power. If ever Lily were to talk to David from Call it Sleep, her views on climbing the social scale would completely be different than David's. Since Lily is in a totally different environment than that of David, and since she is an adult, her views are about how to survive in her upper class world. In order to survive in Lily's world one must have money, not simply be rich but one must have a certain kind of money. They have to have inherited money, called "old money", this is the first step to survive in Lily's community. In the book, we see that although Mr. Rosedale is a very wealthy man, he is outside the social circle because he does not have old money. He has new money, which shows that he is not part of a great, rich family. The second step to climb up in the social scale is to use other people for one's benefit. For a woman to climb up in this society, Lily says one must marry not for love but...
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