How Class and Social Structure of the Victorian Era Is Reflected by the Literature of the Time

Topics: Social class, Sociology, Working class Pages: 4 (1463 words) Published: June 16, 2013
Reading the headlines of today’s newspapers, one will nearly always come across an article focusing on a fight for equal rights between genders or races, the race and revolutions of countries in becoming a democracy and the uprising of societies against constricting governments. However during the Victorian Era, a structured hierarchical environment was not only accepted but was considered to be of the upmost importance in society’s continuous survival. Victorian Literature allows readers to gain a critical insight into the class and social hierarchy of the era, by outlining the extensive amount of guidelines and restrictions applicable to each class and therefore how these affected their attitudes and general existence. The poems ‘Rules and Regulations’ (1845) and ‘A Boys Poem’(1857) both reveal the restrictions applicable to children in particular, and the manner in which they were forced to conduct themselves, essentially defeating the essence of childhood. Oscar Wilde satirically exposes through his legendary, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ (1899) the structure of classes and the attitudes of those who sought to rebel against the societal norms.

‘Rules and Regulations’, published in 1845, outlines the importance of what was considered ‘proper’ social etiquette within the Victorian Era. It lists the extensive amount of rules forced upon children in order to guide them upon what was considered a socially approved yet rather stringent way of life. Lewis Carroll remarks on the many rules and restrictions that were enforced upon the children of the Victorian Era. Although this poem may have been very well used by parents as a rhyme to teach children about certain social situations and conventions, there is definitely an underlying tone of sarcasm used by Carroll, commenting on how frivolous and insignificant these rules are when looking at the entire perspective. These rules and regulations are presented in a child-like manner, with the invited reading...
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