Meredith’s piece offers a critical and vivid analysis of the reasons of class distinctions. He begins by arguing that generally members of different classes resent the intermingling with members of the other classes. In order to answer the query why the class differences exist, he opines that though wealth appears to be the root of class distinctions. Yet at its core it is not the wealth, but “the desire to maintain standards of culture” on the part of the classes that is the origin of class distinctions. He, then, addressed the roots of the distinct class culture. He argues that the culture of a class depends upon the characteristics of its members which “seem to arise not so much from nature as from habit, custom, and education.” He concludes that if we remove all the prima facie factors only income and occupational differences remain at the core of social class distinctions.
Then, Meredith moved to find out the causes of differences in incomes and occupations. He came up with three factors; “authority”, “mere accident” and “inherent wealth”. In the final part of his piece, he tells his reader that at present the cultures are threatened because the barriers between classes are degenerating. His conclusion is that a nation will remain culturally confused until the whole nation transformed into one class.
The article provides crucial insights to its reader regarding the origins of class distinctions. Meredith’s arguments are structured in an orderly manner, his premises are clearly constructed, and his conclusions are vivid. He presents all the factors of class distinction in front of his reader and then critically evaluates them to help his reader reach the conclusions. The article is important to understand the theme of the play “Pygmalion” as the article critically analysis the central idea of the play, i.e. class distinctions arise due to customs, habits and education. The idea of class distinction that had so artistically been described in the play; the theory of that idea along with the roots of class distinctions has been expressed masterfully in Meredith’s article. Meredith’s article equips its readers to understand the class distinctions and class struggle of the play “Pygmalion” by providing them with knowledge regarding the roots of class distinctions.
Shaw, George Bernard. "PYGMALION." 28 May 2009. gutenberg.org. 22 October 2014.