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Austin's treatment of class and social mobility reflect the attitude of the times, yet also seem to challenge these standards. Sir Walter exemplifies the snobbery of those in a certain social class. He is driven to perfect his image, and maintain his social standing. He goes so far as to classify his own children, he prefers Elizabeth, due to the fact she behaves the same way, yet finds his other two daughters, inferior.Admiral Croft is the picture of gentility. Austin creates these two characters to show the both the existing attitudes and the possibility for social change. He does not put on airs, and is the opposing viewpoint to compare the attitudes of the in a high social position.
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