Secrets of the Manor House (PBS 2013) Essay

Submitted By Kristin-Kunz
Words: 1183
Pages: 5

Secrets of the Manor House (PBS 2013) 1) Theoretical Perspective that one will be using.
-I have chosen to use the Symbolic-Interactionism (focus on the meaning behind the symbols of interactions between people within groups, and how the assumptions about these symbols and their meaning form social reality)
2) What are the most important groups in this film and what are the basics of how they each view the social world?
While watching this film one is shown a glimpse into the lifestyle of not only the Aristocrats with their status, wealth, and noble titles, but also a look into the lives of those that supported them the secret servants. These groups were also called upstairs and below stairs as another way of defining the group that they are a part of. Both groups share the hierarchy concept, the Aristocrats starting with the Monarchs working down to the Barons while the servants start with the housekeeper and butler on the top working down to the housemaids and kitchen maids. Each group knows their level of power and how they are supposed to interact within and outside of their groups.
While the Aristocrats lifestyle revolved around country living, lavish parties, and a life of relaxation it was quite the opposite for servants that were downstairs. This group of persons worked 17 of the 24 hours a day, lived off of a salaries of $15-$25 dollars a year, and were meant to be hidden while doing the daily chores of the day. Depending on the title the person held determined how they were to interact with others. Housemaids which were found on the lowest level were the women that were in charge of the daily duties of cleaning rooms, polishing, dusting, and carrying 45 gallons of water up to the bathing tubs per bath just to name a few. These women were never to be seen by the lords or ladies of the household. If someone was to enter the room that they were in, they were taught not to make eye contact, and slowly remove themselves. Housemaids were not to speak unless spoken too. While the upstairs persons were dining or having a dinner party it was only the male footmen and butler that were to sever the lords and ladies, no women servant were allowed within the dining room. As an added measure to insure the servants were not seen when holding parties within the home or on the property grounds, there were tunnels that contacted the servant corridors to the main house.
The way that the Aristocrats gain power that they held was determined by the land that they owned. To maintain the power and status for the family name, estates were to be passed down eldest son to eldest son. The estate was not to be broken up or sold off. As the home and land defined the Aristocrats power it is easily understood how some manor homes could contain over 100 rooms draped in curtains made of gold and silver thread that in today’s value would cost $1.5 million.
Wealth and status are easily shown and why they would need to maintain some discretion when it came to the lavish parties that they would put on and attending during the summer months. It was easily said that there would be over 700 persons in attendance, with a large theme of elaborate costume. The persons in attendances’ of these balls had very flirtation manners which allowed for discrete affairs to continue.
3) Highlight the most significant interactions between these groups, including any conflicts that exist.
The placement of persons when arriving on the Titanic showed not only the hierarchy within the groups, but almost a value on whos life is worth more. By having the servants, lower class person on the bottom level of the ship and working up to the aristocrats on the first class level and luxury lifestyle can be shown in this example. Unknown to the creator or passengers of the ship that it would hit an iceberg and sink causing many deaths. Due to the levels of wealth and social structure during this time period gave way