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Do you consider that there still is an identifiable British working class fiction - Essay Example

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One of the problems that modern British history faces today is how and why the British working class developed. E.M. Thompson's1 historical activism provides a simplistic overview of these questions and debates in his classical book The Making of English Working Class…
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Do you consider that there still is an identifiable British working class fiction
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Download file to see previous pages An identifiable British working class fiction is still identifiable but society has changed perceptively since the World War One which considerably altered definitions and perceptions of this status. Through the texts Lucky Jim (1954) by Kinsley Amis, The Girls of Slender Means (1963) by Muriel Spark, Money (1984) by Martin Amis and Regeneration (1991) by Pat Barker, I will illustrate the differences in perception and characteristics authors use to clarify definitions through their main protagonists, as well as show other examples of working class fiction.
First, it is imperative to present a universally accepted definition of what a working class is and what makes it identifiable. The idea of class structure is comprised of a triangular shape2, the lower base of this model represents the working class these are people who carry out minor jobs (labourers, mine workers, farmers) and are not professionally academic.
E.P. Thompson stated that the British working class was excluded from the privileges of education, "fundamental rights3" and a better lifestyle. Many of these human rights are distinguished clearly through the novels: several of these attainments that the individuals lacked can be seen as a "mass political movement" progressing to a positive view of working class.
Lucky Jim (1954) began this movement after Kingsley Amis, part of the 'Angry Young Men4' group of writers, wrote this classic. In the 1950s, the chance of a university education had given more people, more working and middle class young people the opportunity to avail of higher education. But Jim is neither intellectual nor very ambitious to progress in his chosen field, yet he seeks acceptance by the 'establishment5' (higher class people). Although humorous, the book shows how he really wants that acceptance and the money, status and power that go with it. He knows, cynically, that a boy from a grammar school has little chance; his working class background stands in the way of his progress. Amis is witty, but a cynical realist, with satire and black comedy. His dialogue is excellent for bringing characters and places to life, as is his descriptive power.
In the novel The Girls of Slender Means (1963) Spark seems to portray people trying to tolerate 'genteel poverty6' by making light of it all. But it is a vivid picture of civilian suffering as a result of World War Two. The May of Teck club seems to be a place where they try to maintain a facade, but it reflects that every class is suffering, with little material wealth or comfort. It highlights the status of women as workers in their own right and the changes in their status brought about by war.
Furthermore Martin Amis's novel Money (1984) deals with the concept of British working class in a modern-day perspective. He employs the concept here that money is dirty, but the world is driven to acquire it because of the power and status it brings. The preface of the book (subtitled A Suicide Note) should be read first as a warning to all. Everything about money and business is linked to a loss of a working ethic. His uncle, who worked very hard, is an example of a working class person who no matter how he tried, failed. Self is admonishing us on how random the acquisition of wealth is, and how addictive and corruptive it is. Amis uses postmodernist techniques as the author puts himself into the narrative at times. He wants to give shape to the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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