Prose Response Essay

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In the excerpt from Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton, she informatively and descriptively describes the social issues and differences between upper and lower classes by using elements such as point of view, selection of detail, dialogue, and characterization to make a social commentary. She shows the way servants and the lower class are treated and compares them to the higher society and the upper class to show the injustices of society at that time. Gaskell informs rather than reforms; she explicates not industrial conditions but about people living in those conditions. The reader does not know any of the character developments and changes rather than those of George Wilson. Gaskell writes in third person omniscient limited; through this, we learn of George Wilson’s thoughts and feelings. As Wilson walks to Mr. Carson’s, he notices a variety of things that stood out to him. The “miserable-looking women” could be a foreshadowing symbol of what the reader should expect society to be like at that time. Obviously, the upper-class has an easier, wealthier life. However, the reader is exposed to the harsh, brutal truth of the lower-class society. Because George Wilson is a poor servant that has had little to eat in several days, we can not help but have sympathy for him. The upper-class is stuck up and oblivious to the needs and cares of their servants. However, those servants help with and take care of the needs of the other servants. While Wilson is on his way to see Mr. Carson, we learn that he is very hungry and hasn’t eaten in days. He says that if the other servants would have known that, they would have generously given him an abundant amount of food. He also tells the reader that like him, the servants’ hunger and cravings have turned into a numb “sickness”. Gaskell is not being objective nor trying to make fun of the way society was at that time. She is
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