ENGL 338 – Modern Drama
With Pinter, we jump ahead 60 years and, of course, west to England (with America as part of the context). How does Pinter’s play treat social class, in comparison with how class affects either Hedda Gabler or The Cherry Orchard?
Pinter’s play treats social class differently than Hedda Gabler in the sense that most of the characters, apart from Teddy, are in the working/middle class. The family does not have enormous amounts of money at their disposal, but they seem to be getting along fine in the house together. Considering there are four grown men, all related living together in a single home, it may signify that they are not wealthy enough to live separately. However, it seems to me that the characters almost enjoy picking on each other throughout the play, especially Max and Lenny. I would consider the Homecoming characters to be more concerned with women and power among themselves in the house, rather than social class. Until Teddy arrives. Then it seems like the rest of the family is very aware of his academic accomplishments compared to his other brothers.
In Hedda Gabler, if you were not of the high social class, like Hedda, Tesmen, or Judge Brack, then you were to be looked down upon, like Thea was. Even if her husband had some money, she did not come from a wealthy family to begin with. While it was very clear that Hedda father was a General while he was alive.
In The Homecoming we see Max often criticizing his brother Sam, for being a chauffeur. Max was a butcher when he was younger, and he clearly views that position more highly than his brother’s. I see the main difference of social classes between The Homecoming and Hedda Gabler lies in the meaning on what makes someone superior. In The Homecoming, social class is based on what type of job you have, i.e.butcher versus chauffeur. In Hedda Gabler, social class is based on what you own, i.e. the piano, a big house, etc.