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This fascinating novel featuring bitter ecclesiastical in-fighting does present us with a rather unflattering picture of British society at this time. Trollope presents British society as being incredibly rigid and inflexible. Those that have power, position or stature cling bitterly to it and are always looking to gain more, whereas others seem to view those above them with the intent of taking their position and pulling them down. An apt metaphor that is often used to describe society is a ladder, but in this novel it appears more accurate to imagine it as a greasy ladder with a huge multitude trying to climb it and pulling off those above them whilst protecting their own position from those below them. The menagerie of characters that Trollope presents us with shows above all that British society was based around power and influence.
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