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The Go-between, while a powerful story of a young boys premature involvement in an adult love affair is ultimately concerned in criticising the rigid social class system of Edwardian England. Discuss.

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Introduction

The Go-between, while a powerful story of a young boys premature involvement in an adult love affair is ultimately concerned in criticising the rigid social class system of Edwardian England. Discuss. The concepts of social class and loss of innocence are two main issues highlighted by the author in the novel. He influences the reader to form criticisms through the construction of his characters, and the events that take place. The sequences of events that lead up to the discovery of Ted and Marians covert relationship are represented by various uses of symbolism. As L.P. Hartley reminds us The Go-between is pregnant with symbols. The deadly nightshade is the most obvious one. The Belladonna, throughout the novel, represents sexual symbolism. Leos encounter with the belladonna is another stage towards his loss of innocence. The plant in its own right is symbolic of the sexual relationship between Ted and Marian, urged by a secret explosive force that I felt would burst them, this represents the fact that both Ted and Marian are trying against all odds to keep their relationship secret but it must have been very hard for them to suppress their feelings about each other, leading to the discovery of their affair. Despite the social conventions of the time Ted and Marian have realised and accepted the attraction they have the force that drew them together, however when referring to the belladonna we see how deadly their sexual attraction can actually be, especially after going against what was regarded as the social norms of the time. We see that the belladonna had battened on the heat which had parched everything else, the word battened here suggests aggression in two different contexts, one being the aggression that can be expressed through sexual behaviour and another being the struggle that Ted and Marian had to go through to fight with the social restraints of the time. ...read more.

Middle

She is very aware of the kind of social position she will gain if she was to marry Edgar rather than Heathcliff. Upon entering Brandam Hall Leo is affected by its residents and has to learn how to adapt to a social class higher than his, you mustnt come down to breakfast in your slippers. Its the sort of thing that bank clerks do. He seems to be very aware of his social inferiority, I had never told Marcus of my Fathers lowly social status. Therefore he lacks full understanding of how to fit into a class, which implements fairly different morals than his own. Hence, his embarrassment when questioned about his unsuitable dressing You are looking hot. Havent you something cooler to wear why dont you take your jacket off - youd be more comfortable without it. As some critics of the book explain Leo's clothes - of which he becomes self-conscious, and which represent his greater or less understanding of the social milieu he has entered. This is solely because of the way the most influential characters, for example Marcus; tend to look down on the lower social class. This is a criticism of the upper social class as it presents them as snobbish, condescending characters - the servants will pick them up - thats what theyre for. Marcus, like Leo, is also aware of his social standing in society. His overall attitude towards those around him makes his character distasteful to the reader. He is a young boy who on many instances makes snobby, patronising remarks about those who are in the working class. He had a habit of speaking badly of people, especially those of a lower social status. This is another criticism as it encourages the reader to attack the upper social class. Marcuss behaviour is especially unattractive as he is a child. Mrs. Mausdley is representative of social class as we are reminded by critics of the film a woman (Mrs. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was Mrs. Maudsleys repeated screams that frightened me, It was these screams, which represented and led to the breakdown in Leos relationship with the Maudsleys, Leos mental breakdown, which led to his abstinence, and an overall breakdown in social conventions. Both social class and loss of innocence are very significant to Leo, he is trying to define the blurred boundaries between man and boy and upper/lower class. Leo himself comes to a point where he doesnt understand exactly which category he belongs to To see things as they really were what an impoverishment! Chafed in my flesh, chafed in my spirit, I wandered aimlessly about with Marcus, half wishing that he would barge into me, or call me names, or practise his superior French on me, instead of wrapping me in the cotton-wool of his society manner. So one could say that both social class and loss of innocence are as important as each other, as the two issues are largely integrated throughout the novel. However, social class does appear to be more important in the novel, despite Leos exposure to an adult love affair. Hartley has shaped many of Leos responses in the novel according to social class. This concept appears to be one that Leo is more concerned about in regards to fitting into a class higher than his. You know that Ted and I were lovers: we were. But we werent ordinary lovers, not lovers in the vulgar sense, not in the way people make love today. Our love was a beautiful thing, wasnt it? I mean, we gave up everything for each other. One could say that the reason why she believed their love was so special was purely because they had to break all social conventions of the time to pursue their relationship. They were faced with an ultimatum of either their love for each other or their social positions. Unfortunately both lovers chose their love for each other and suffered dire consequences. This was as a result of the social conventions of the Edwardian social class system, being the stronger issue at the time. ...read more.

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