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The depiction of the upper classes in British literature is typically harsh and...

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qu950827 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:43 AM via web

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The depiction of the upper classes in British literature is typically harsh and callous, as a number of British writers were hoping to expose the kind of self-interested pursuits that the rich and materially conventional were partaking of in the Romantics, Victorian, and Modernist eras. Class-obsessed characters frequently are attacked for their pursuits. Select three such works and a character from each and discuss this depiction of the upper classes. Go heavy on details and examples.

(choose any example from the list)


 1.“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

2.“It is a Beauteous Evening”       

3. “Kubla Khan” (pp. 113-4)          

4. “When We Two Parted”

5. “She Walks in Beauty”      

6. “Ozymandias” 

7.  “La Belle Dame Sans Mercy” (pp. 121-2)

8. Importance of Being Earnes

9.  “The Lady of Shalott”

10.  “My Last Duchess”

11. “Porphyria’s Lover” (p. 144)

12.  “Channel Firing”  

13. “Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave”

14. “Loveliest of Trees”  

15. “The Second Coming”

16.  “Dulce et Decorum Est”

17. Siefried Sassoon’s “Dreamers” (p. 207)

Auden’s “Unknown Citizen”  

18. To Sir, With Love

19. “The Open Window”

 20. “Marriage a la Mode” 

21. “The Boarding House”   )

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Kay Morse | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:49 PM (Answer #1)

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The Importance of Being Earnest is a play that satires the upper class pretenses of Victorian England. Not all British literature attempts to expose self-interest and materialism in the upper classes, yet this play does. In humorous witty satire, Oscar Wilde shows the illogicality, vanity, unthinking adherence to convention that made the upper class of the Victorian era seem ridiculous to some onlookers.


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