To The Problem Of Classism

Subject: To The Problem Of Classism
Date: 23 Feb 2017

Dear people who either have witnessed classism or who know nothing about it,
First off, if you don’t know what “classism” is, then think of it in this synonym: social discrimination. We all know what this means, hating people of a different class than your own. We mainly glorify it in the media, but this happens in the real world too. I was given an assignment in my high school English class where I had to read a classic novel and relate it to real world problems. The book I was assigned to read was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and keep in mind this book was written in 1861. The book follows the story of a young boy named Pip through his life into his early 30’s. Pip starts out being a low class kid living with his sister and his sister’s husband, Joe. They are a family that struggles to get food on the table, and who are very poor. Pip then gets the chance to go and visit the Satis House, where the lavish Ms. Havisham and her adopted daughter Estella live. Once he arrives, he feels upset at how they are high class and he is low class. Eventually, Pip falls in love with Estella, and he wants to become a gentleman to woo her. Pip is suddenly given a large sum of money to help him do so, but he does not know who gave him this money. Pip starts to grow up and learns the ways of being a high class citizen in London. This is where he meets his friend, Herbert, and they are practically brothers throughout the rest of the book. The beginning of the book starts out with Pip being forced to steal from his own home for a convict who threatened to kill him, and Pip soon learns that the same convict, named Magwitch, has gotten a large amount of money and towards the end of the book, learns that he is the one who gave Pip the money for him to become a gentleman. Pip tries to help Magwitch evade the police, but he eventually passes away and Pip gets terribly sick. Pip learns that his money has been taken away with Magwitch’s conviction and his brother-in-law, Joe, comes to nurse him back to health. After Pip becomes well again, Joe pays off Pip’s debts and Pip is forced to go back into the life he lived before getting his money. He finds that Joe has married the girl who was teaching Pip how to read and write, named Biddy. Pip, who planned on marrying her, is set back again and heads out with Herbert to work with him and his wife Clara. At the end, Pip goes back to the Satis House, which is now in ruins as an impending auction waits for the land. There, he finds Estella, and they talk about themselves. Pip learns her husband had died and she has been changed, and she finally knows how to love again. The book ends with the two of them leaving the Satis House ruins, never to part again.
The events that led me to see classism in this book is the fact that Pip’s attitude towards the people he loves changes based on social class, and how he is personally treated differently once he is of a different social class. This is very much how everyone is today, despite it being the 21st century. At the beginning, Pip starts to become a gentleman and is always around the higher class, and he starts to look down on Joe and Biddy, and his own sister. He also felt upset when first at Satis House and when around Estella. At the end, he also felt as if Joe couldn’t help him with his debts, but once Joe paid off all of them, Pip’s attitude changed. Pip continued to chase after Estella, which only made him more upset, until the very last chapter in the book.
Growing up, I was taught to look down on the “poor” people, despite myself being of the middleclass. It made me believe that I was in a higher standing than someone who lives in an apartment or who has to work multiple jobs to get through life. It was very recent that my mindset had changed about that when my family had filed for bankruptcy, and we had to limit what we spent. My sister still has the same mindset, but I have changed from it. I now feel sorry about ever seeing the lower class as bad people who didn’t really care about anything and who were criminals. I now want to somehow help out with the other social classes and show that we can get along, whether you’re homeless or living in a million-dollar mansion. This makes me able to relate to Pip in the way that my mindset towards the other social classes were not the best when I should have thought differently.
My audience to this letter is anyone who has felt he negativity of classism, anyone who has witnessed the events of classism, and anyone who doesn’t know much about the subject. My dad is always the one who makes the most comments about the lower class. When we go shopping and he sees someone who hasn’t showered or who is wearing dirty clothes or such, he will make comments about how we are the better people. He likes to spend money without thinking about how much we have and will act like he’s rich. This is my personal observation of classism. Other things can be seen in the media as well, with prostitutes and strippers being of low class, criminals being low class, and such. The media also portrays the high class as rich white businessmen or scientists. We all know that everyone can be of any social class, and how this is just not accurate. It is also said that your social class can either give you advantages or disadvantages, and this can be shown with college. You have to pay money or get scholarships in order to attend, but if you want to get into an Ivy League school, you most likely have to be super wealthy in order to pay to go. This is unfair, and same can go with scholarships. If they see how much money you make, or your household income, they may become biased on if they should give you a scholarship or not.
By writing this letter, I hope that people will finally open up and realize how this is a real problem in society. I personally feel that this contributes to racism as well as classism, and that this has been happening for a long time. Everyone can say that at least one time in their life they have thought in a classist way, and I can say that myself. I want people to start talking about this problem as often as we do with racism and gay rights. I feel all of these are problems, but we need to address how wrong these mindsets are. The media and everyone need to stop labeling people based on social class.
In the end, Pip realized how his thinking was wrong and I did as well. We all are given greater expectations than what we think we’re capable of or what we really aren’t capable of doing, but social class shouldn’t matter in that topic.