Essay Example on There are numerous interpretations of the word class Paul Fussell









There are numerous interpretations of the word class Paul Fussell identifies the class by the amount of money status and political power a person holds 24 The author agrees in the potential existence of various classes in society From a simple two class system to a complex structure with boundless number of classes the possibilities are endless Nevertheless in his researches he indicates the nine classes that exist in the United States the top out of sight upper upper middle middle high proletarian mid proletarian low proletarian destitute and bottom out of sight classes 27 In the Class A Guide through the American Status System Paul Fussell introduces the nine classes to demonstrate how three components separate people while refuting the perception that money is the only determining factor In An Anatomy of the Classes Fussell argues that the source of money retains more value than money themselves Some people have ability to live without ever working yet others won't survive a day without earnings In this case the separation of people into different classes is well defined However both the upper middle and upper classes have enough money to cover their living but they are still separated into two levels despite having a possibly similar amount 

The difference between those classes is the way they receive money Specifically the upper classes inherit most if not all of money while the upper middle and middle classes earn them by working According to the chapter inheritance plays a major role in distinguishing people s position in the society In fact Paul Fussell asserted Inheritance is indispensable principle defining the top three classes 29 When comparing to the classes underneath the upper level obtains money differently by not working Even the wealthy upper middle class are recognized of a lesser status because they have a job that provides them with those resources that the top level inherit for generations Fussell 29 The amount of money available though represents only a small part in the differentiation The next argument is emphasis on the social reputation and the status that impact the distinction of classes As an example the upper class members hold positions in places that emphasize their significance and a higher status such as the Senate foundations historic corporations and older universities Fussell 31 On the other hand people from the middle class work as sales representatives dentists and engineers responding to people of higher authority which diminishes their status in relation to the upper class Fussell 40 When juxtaposing those occupations the upper level industries communicate a prominent reputation and a power that translates into the higher level classes The status is also conveyed through people's behavior and attitude Particularly the middle class is self conscious about presenting the right message to other people because of their fear of losing their jobs and damaging their social reputation Fussell 40 Because the status panic remains a predominant characteristic of the middle class they attempt to elevate their worth by borrowing status from higher elements and obsessing over doing the right thing Fussell 39 The high proletarian people demonstrate their anxiousness of the reduction of their social status as well and may use wallets to prove their prestige Fussell 47 

The upper and upper middle classes however are confident in their reputation which allows them to gain higher eminence While the upper class people abstain from compliments as they have nothing to prove the upper middle class members present themselves with controlled precise movements and confident postures causing others to recognize their status and desire to reach their level Fussell 35 More specifically a male from the upper middle class appears unabashed unlike the proletarian whose facial features reveal opposition and resentment Fussell 35 Evidently the status is a powerful factor that defines the classes in many ways Finally Paul Fussell asserts that political power of a person contributes to the separation of people between the classes In his writing Fussell refers to political power in terms of having a resistance towards being pushed around 24 It's obvious that the proletarians are being managed by their employers who have control over their lives The working class may lose their jobs at any day and they will have no resources to support their families and themselves Since they don t have ability or power to get a better and secure position the proletarians sacrifice their freedom and status through following the commands of their supervisors On the other hand the upper classes hold valuable positions that give them freedom and political power With this power the top level classes are able to resist control over them by other people They have control over the lives and the decisions they make which defines their presence in the upper class Although the middle class holds a higher authority and thus more power than the proletarian they still face difficulty in resisting other s commands

They want to belong in the society without losing their jobs Fussell 40 Therefore they become parts of an infinitely larger structure that dominates the workers and constrains them to follow Fussell 40 In An Anatomy of the Classes Paul Fussell uses his nine classes as sections to shape his argument that the influential three attributes define and separate people He allows the audience to make their own conclusions by providing numerous detailed examples of aspects of the classes The audience is able to identify the major characteristics that differentiate the people which are the ability to resist social prestige and money Yet by discussing the social prestige more heavily the author communicates the greater importance of status in relation to money

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