Comment on the similarities between Sons and Lovers and Great Expectations.

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One of the central similarities that we can identify in these two classic texts is that of social class and the way that both stories present us with worlds that are clearly defined by the narrow limitations of class and social position.

Lawrence, for example, shows how capitalism creates a society where classes are placed in conflict against each other and even creates this conflict between members of the same class. Consider the number of conflicts that this novel contains, and in particular how conflict surrounds the rise of William up the social ladder. The further he rises up this ladder, he finds that he is more alienated from his family. His girlfriend, Lily, treats the Morels with massive condescension as she considers herself to be "better" than them, and this is ironically imitated by Mrs. Morel herself, who believes that she is better than her own husband.

In just the same way, Pip finds out very soon that his rise into society thanks to his expectations actually brings him sadness and conflict. He becomes more and more isolated from his former tranquil, peaceful and loving life back in the marshes with Jo, and only feels embarrassment when Jo comes to visit him in London. Pip is a character who is constantly taunted by his low upbringing from his very first meeting with Estella, where he is made fun of because "he calls the Jacks knaves." Class is a pervasive influence throughout this novel.

In both texts, therefore, the presentation of class is shown as something that divides people from one another and their loved ones and brings them into conflict with each other and within themselves.


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