Rise of Middle Class Values

This group has evolved and has developed its own influence on society, as they have been considered over the years as one of the most significant groups in a variety of ways. It is important to recognize that there are considerable challenges in place in developing an effective middle class group, yet this evolution has provided a number of key improvements over the years. Throughout literature, many references have been made to the overall involvement and influence of the middle class on modern society, with an emphasis on such authors as Jane Austen and Frances Burney, to name a few. The following discussion will evaluate the rise of the middle class in the context of these authors, emphasizing various issues that they raise in their classic books. Specifically, the argument will be made that the creation of the middle class is a product of aristocratic society in that those that did not make the cut or fit in properly were grouped in what became the middle class, and that this consequence of socialization served as a positive step in the development of a multi-class society.

Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” tells the story of the Elliott family, who own land and are respected members of their community, and the widow Walter, who has raised three daughters by himself over the past decade, is in serious danger of becoming broke as a consequence of his spendthrift habits (Austen). The eventual consequence of this spending is to relocate to a more affordable home and an area that is not considered to be aristocratic, yet it is not poor either, and this area is what became known as the middle class (Austen). It is important to recognize that in the Austen book, there are a wide variety of issues to be evaluated relative to middle class existence, including but not limited to the importance of maintaining a sense of responsibility with regards to financial matters, as well as consideration towards various social status issues of importance.

The primary themes of the book coincide with the argument that the middle class is a product of aristocratic society in that there is a strong need by the main characters to adhere to a strict sense of social class, which emphasizes affluent norms and expectations (Austen). However, it should be noted that these same norms to buy college research paper and values that support the aristocratic regime also facilitate the development of middle class society, as it is estimated that social status is not limitless, and that all persons do not necessarily belong in one given social group for their entire lives (Austen). Rather, it is expected that many individuals will perhaps move from one class to another in the context of ever-changing life circumstances, which leads them to new opportunities and an even greater chance of fulfilling their dreams (Austen). Perhaps most significant to this argument is the fact that as specific circumstances change, new opportunities arise, even if they are not what is anticipated or even expected, and this has served as the primary basis for the development of the middle class social group.

Throughout Austen’s novel, it is evident that in understanding the aristocratic or upper class, there is little room for any sort of flexibility in such areas as conduct, income, marriage, and land ownership, since these ideals were established centuries prior to when the novel was written (Austen). However, the author is well aware of the necessity for change and elasticity of norms and values in order to embrace those individuals that do not quite live up to aristocratic expectations for one reason or another (Austen). It is important to understand that the most important aspects of developing the middle class in this era was a widespread response to the excessive harshness and rigidity of those that did not fit the aristocratic bill, thereby creating opportunities for a new social class, comprised of its own set of morals and values (Austen). This new class of individuals paved the way for the development of this new social group that sought to carve a niche for themselves in the modern social arena (Austen).

Rise of Middle Class ValuesThe evolution of Austen’s main characters, including Walter Elliott, leads them down an unfamiliar path of existence, one that they must learn to grow accustomed to rather quickly in order to survive (Austen). In this context, it is essential that readers must learn to identify with some of the ridiculous norms that are expressed by the aristocrats, as they frequently lose touch with reality as a result of their seemingly unlimited financial resources (Austen). Furthermore, this group does not typically recognize any individuals outside their circle as important and worthwhile contributors to society, and therefore, many challenges are faced by those considered to be middle class members of society (Austen). Therefore, a dramatic shift in values and norms was essential to establish the middle class social group back in the 18th Century, and this group evolved from many social outcasts, those that were not fit to be excluded in the aristocratic group for one reason or another (Austen). Once this group became recognized as a force to be reckoned with, it became evident that there were a substantial number of individuals within society that did not fit the aristocratic mold, nor were they considered to be poor and destitute, and therefore, they were classified as those in the middle of these two polar opposites, a happy medium between two groups that did not recognize each other in society (Austen).

In order to realize the impact of this shift in social thought and values, it should be noted that the middle class evolved with a few members, and its group membership increased so quickly because it was recognized that these individuals possessed a stronger sense of values and respect for others, as well as a graciousness that the aristocrats did not possess in any way, shape or form. Much of the value system that was established with the middle class conveyed a strong sense of respect and support for others within this group, as well as the desire to achieve high expectations and to acquire success honestly and gratefully. Therefore, the middle class learned to understand how their decisions influenced those around them, thereby creating new opportunities for achievement and admiration for others.

In conclusion, the establishment of the middle class is effectively conveyed in Jane Austen’s classic novel “Persuasion,” which describes the decline of an aristocratic family from the top of the pyramid to the middle class, demonstrating the many struggles that the characters faced in the process. The middle class serves as a reminder that there is a place for everyone in life, and that regardless of the resources that a person possesses, acceptance is possible.