The Emperor's New Clothes

Topics: Social class, Sociology, Clothing Pages: 3 (963 words) Published: July 29, 2010
Tyler Welch
Christine Cranford
ENG 113 - 02 IN - 2010SU
16 July 2010
The Emperor’s New Clothes
In The Emperor’s New Clothes, the Emperor asked two weavers to weave him a cloth of extreme beauty and wealth -- something that said, “I am Emperor.” What the Emperor did not know was that these weavers were impostors who in the end made him look very idiotic with his “extraordinary dress” of absolutely nothing! However, he did not choose to see that what he was wearing was clearly nonexistent, instead he chose to believe that he was of higher standing than anyone else in his city.

Social class is linked to the way people dress every day. This is exemplified in Hans Christian Andersen’s short story, The Emperor’s New Clothes. How is clothing related to social class you may ask? Put simply, people of higher class have always been the best dressed list in past years and for years to come. This short story in particular gives the reader a lesson, it’s not what you wear that makes you who you are, its who you are inside. This is easily said than done.

The idea that clothing represents who you are in society is not a new idea. It has been noted that certain colors, patterns, material, etc. have been reserve strictly for the highest of rank. For example, in the time of the Romans “senators could wear garments dyed with Tyrian purple...” (Finer). Obviously senators as well as Emperor’s were dressed a certain way to distinguish them from everyone else. It makes so much sense!

Clothing also stood for something very important in Medieval Times -- how high up you were placed in society. Peasants certainly did not have the same dress nobility. In the story, the Minister as well as the officer exemplified that their offices were much more of a higher standard than a simpleton. Simpleton is the phrase used in the short story to describe people of a lower class. This should say something in itself -- people who dressed plainly are simple and are not of...

Cited: Andersen, Hans Christian. “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Literature for Composition: essays, stories, poems, and plays. Eds. Sylvan Barnet, William E. Cain, and William Burto. 9th ed. Boston: Longman, 2010. 849-852. Print.
Global Oneness. Clothing - Clothing as a social message. Web. 15 July 2010.
Morley, Jennifer. Hair Imagery In Jane Eyre. Web. 15 July 2010.
The Finer Times: Excellence in content. Social Status and Clothing in Medieval Times. The Finer Times, A Division of Pear Corporation. 2009. Web. 15 July 2010.
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