“Classes such as the political ones are artificial because they cut across the complex interests of man’s life, and isolate one from out of this complex which is made to legislate for all the rest.” (Rogers, 338). By the late 19th century, people became extremely conscious of the dominant society classes. Dominant classes are the people who belong to the small group of elites who have the power to manipulate and control the society. An interesting journal written by A.K. Rogers states that with the rise of democratic principles class consciousness begins to loom up vaguely as a portent. The main idea of Rogers argument is that classes separates the elites from the rest of the society; thus creating a division towards the common people. In order for the common people to participate in political activities and in the society, they must be well-educated. The existence of classes in the society divides the opinion; hence, the opinion presented by the majority will remain as the truth whilst the opinion presented by the minority will not be accepted. Thus, class consciousness creates an idea of dogmatism.
Pygmalion is one of Shaw’s most loved tales from the beginning of the 19th century. The novel was based on the ancient Greek mythology of a man named Pygmalion who fell in love with his own sculpture. Subsequently, the play not only portrays the satirical comedy of manners but also the class consciousness prevalent in the British society during the late 1800s. As a writer, Shaw is genuinely interested in exploring other themes of writing especially the line that divides the poor to the rich. Henry Higgins was a professor of phonetics and he wanted to train Eliza to pass as a Duchess. According to Rogers, class consciousness is the quality of looking for shared interests whilst using them to dominate one’s political outlook or activity.
The same thing can be said about Higgins’ trying to change the character of Eliza from a simple Cockney flower into a respectable duchess. Likewise, Rogers argue that due to the influence of democratic principles, people became high observant of dominant classes. As his journal essay also stresses the following points of view: those who belong to the upper class have the power and money. As Roger points out, a workingman such as Higgins himself does not have adequate property and has only a small amount of money (Rogers, 336). Hence, by becoming a part of the social elite will give an advantage of mingling with the rich people to acquire connections for self-advancement. Moreover, the author also pointed out that drawing class lines that separates the society from the rest cannot be changed as long as there is a conflict between the two or more groups. As a conclusion, Rogers suggest that shared interests can be a positive trait when people take time to look at the common traits on other people.
Rogers, A. K. 'Class Consciousness'. International Journal of Ethics 27.3 (1917): n. pag. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.Roger’s journal is the best example of a writing that tackles about the emergence of class consciousness. Written in the third person narrative, he specifically points out the causes and the effects of class consciousness amongst people. The main effect of having class consciousness leads to dogmatism; a society wherein a certain group of people particularly the ones belonging to the upper level of the society lays down the inconvertible beliefs. These beliefs goes unquestioned by the minority and becomes a truth later on.
This journal is an appropriate reading for those who wanted to know the Shaw’s Pygmalion better because Rogers lays out the facts and viewpoints in a clear, and plainspoken manner.