The go between class Essay example

Submitted By essaytimeisfun
Words: 950
Pages: 4

L.P Hartley’s novel The Go-Between is a novel in which social class plays a major role. Much of the action is driven by class distinctions, and the way in which the societal perception of class and the strict social hierarchy governs the lives of Hartley’s characters. Throughout the novel our main view of this class struggle is through the eyes of Leo Colston, the narrator of the novel. This is most evident as Leo, a middle class boy, naively acts as a go-between for illicit love across social classes. Hartley uses references to class, as evident as differences in clothing and more complex sub-textual elements of interactions between characters, to expose these differences in class.
The most obvious example of the class difference between Leo and the members of Brandham is Leo’s lack of summer clothing a result of which Leo is forced to wear his Eton uniform. In response Leo’s upper class school friend Marcus Maudsley states “only cads wear their school clothes in the holidays. It isn’t done.” This shows how Ted has to change the way he behaves around Marcus to observe the customs of the upper class. This encourages the audience to see the upper class as the dominant presence that over classes have to bend to. Marcus continues to give lessons to Leo on how to behave “properly”, which again highlights a different attitude among the upper class “You must leave them (Leo’s clothes) lying wherever they happen to fall the servants will pick them up that is what they’re for.” Something as simple as folding ones clothes is frowned upon as being below the station of the Maudsley’s and again Leo must change the way he acts to fit into this new station. Hartley uses Marcus’ opinions as a commentary on the restricting code the upper class must adhere to, but also the way the upper class use adhering to the code as a means of placing themselves above others.
In comparison to the upper class the lower and middle classes are much more relaxed in terms of codes and this is most obvious at the cricket match. The most noticeable difference between the two teams is again their clothing. Leo is distressed by the villagers lack lustre appearance comparing them to the Boers, “The village team were like the Boers, who did not have much in the ways of equipment by our standards, but could give a good account of themselves” meanwhile the members of the Hall are properly dressed in cricket whites. This noticeable difference in attire is intended to create a mental divide between the village and the Hall players. Leo even refers to the village players as “natives” a term the British would have used to describe the local inhabitants of subdued colonies, who they would most definitely see in a class much lower than their own. There is a sense of arrogance about the Hall team who draw confidence from their appearance as Leo states “I did not believe you could succeed at a game unless you were dressed properly for it.” Hartley uses this imagery to further the divide between classes and show how much the opinions of those at the hall have influenced Leo in his short stay. Even the way in which each teams playing style is described by Leo is different. The village team hit the ball with little style, relying solely on power. An example of which is the innings of Ted Burgess, who uses his strength to muscle the ball. The Hall team play with decorum, picking and choosing shots. These opposing styles point to