‘The Novels contrasting scenes portray a gulf between societal categories in Victorian Society’ How far and in what ways do you hold with this position of The Picture Of Dorian Gray?
Within Oscar Wilde’s novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ . the writer opposes the East End of London to the West End. making a gulf between societal categories in the Victorian Society. By integrating Dorian Gray to these scenes. Wilde is able to underscore the difference of the life styles between these two terminals of London.
Within the first nine chapters of the novel. the Theatre – where Dorian foremost lays his eyes and commands his farewell to Sibyl Vane – is a outstanding location. ‘A brassy affair’ . Dorian. Lord Henry and Basil stand out amongst the crowd in their ‘horrid small private box’ dominating the people ‘in what [ Dorian ] suppose [ vitamin D ] they called the frock circle’ . As Wilde utilizations Dorian himself to explicate his position of the Theatre. it portrays this separation of societal categories. which is so emphasised by the fact that Dorian is in a ‘private’ box ; puting himself above the working category both physically and mentally. In comparing to this. Sibyl and her brother James Vane besides experience themselves in an unusual location for their category. nevertheless merely James notices. as Sibyl is excessively busy thought of her ‘Prince Charming’ . Wilde depicts James Vane as a ‘common gardener’ in Hyde Park. as ‘the passers by glanced in wonder’ at his ‘coarse ill-fitting clothes’ . In depicting James Vane’s apparels as ‘coarse’ . Wilde opens another gulf of societal categories within the Victorian Society.
In continuance with the Vane household. Wilde besides depicts the family of Sibyl. her brother and her female parent to convey an image of the conditions the on the job category would populate in during the Victorian epoch. The ‘one arm-chair that their begrimed sitting-room contained’ conveys a sense of imperfectness. and rawness ; the chair merely has ‘one arm’ . it is easy falling apart. This can be compared with Lord Henry’s ‘exquisite’ library. as Wilde besides depicts the inside of here. The ‘olive stained oak’ . ‘persian rugs’ and ‘blue tinned China’ show the elaborate decorations in Lord Henry’s library. besides making an image of what the wealthy. upper category Victorian society were able to afford in difference to the Vane household. Furthermore this comparing of categories is emphasised by their locations ; the Vane family being in the East End of London. wheras Lord Henry’s library is in Mayfair. in the West End.
Wilde’s contrasting scenes in the novel are able to portray a gulf between societal categories. from the ‘horrid’ box in the East End theater to the ‘beautiful roses’ in Basil Hallward’s studio. This category indifference in the Victorian Society is made clear by Wilde through the usage of elaborate description.