Literature is the best criticism of life and it is the study of society. Literature is a direct reflection of life and it reflects what is happening in the society. It portrays the real picture of changes occurring in the society in different ways. These changes may be the social, political religious and scientific changes. Literature also illustrates the moral and legal norms, culture and civilizations, ideas and beliefs of the society. Literature takes its themes from the very changes occurring in the society and from which it come out. Society is depicting though the different genres of literature such, as poetry, drama, novel etc. so Literature is a mirror of society because it portrays the real image of society. Every writer has a little influence of society in which he has bought up. A literary writer has very close relation with his society and very attuned to the changes and they take innovation from their own society and transfer their imagination, observation, revelation, affections and perception into their text. Thus literature and society are interlinked and writers both consciously and unconsciously assimilate the very important link in their texts.
2.3.1 Karl Marx Criticism
By literary theory, Karl Marx has also contributed to the literature. According to Karl Marx the work which is written by different writers is not due to by some godly or mythical revelation rather these writers get persuaded by their instantaneous surrounding which is the current composition and prevailing economic system of the society, social order of the classes, moral and legal norms of the individuals and from the government institutions in society.
Marxist criticism on literature is not simply a theory or piece of literature. It is also not concerned with literary text which is related to the lower class. The main objective of this theory is to explain the work of art and literature more thoroughly and more perfectly with fully attention to its form and style. But from those style and form it would suggest that it is a product and representation of society.
Novel is the important genre of English art and literature which is the main medium for depicting and illustrating the issue of class conflict. In English literature this genre has appear in the beginning of 18th century with the birth of middle class in the society. In the eighteen century a new class was emerged because of industrialization and economic growth in the Europe. The new class was middle class and the novel was being written to get acclaimed from this new class or middle class. In fact it portrays and describes the entire society. Various scholars and writers deal with these experiences of life in their own way.
The Oxford Dictionary defines novel as “a fictions prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.” The Literary J.A Cuddon states that Novel is not only a common attribute but it also possesses many other characteristics and most important distinguished characteristic is its illustration of actual life circumstances and immediate society. Through different characters, different settings, and various themes it is a best medium to illustrate the contemporary society.
Since its beginning in eighteenth century, Class conflict on the basis of status, power, economic incongruity and many others factors is being shown in the novel. The novel seem to be a real depiction of the society by showing the significance of financial and social status in a community and socio- economic condition and the changing position of the characters from one to another status. Due to this illustration of the society, a novel can be easily understood with respect to the relation with immediate environment, the financial and social status, the socio-economic conditions, the current and influential ideas and beliefs, and the moral and legal norms
Theme of class conflict and class division goes beside one another with the evolution of the novel in 19th century Victorian society. The 19th century is distinguished by a great movement, the industrialization that led to the popularity of material possessions in the society. Because of industrialization a new class, a middle class has emerged in the society and members of society rejects the conventional values and moral and legal norms. Industrialization was an influential economic force of the Victorian society that influenced the very status of the various classes in the society. The 19th century is distinguished by the literary work Jane Austen (1775-1817), Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), Emily Bronte (1818-1848), and Charles Dickens (1812-1870).
126.96.36.199 Jane Austen
Early 19th century was dominated by Jane Austen (1775-1817), an English great Novelist best known primarily for her six main novels. Six major novels by Jane Austen are, Sense and Sensibility (1811), Emma (1815), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Persuasion (18181), Mansfield Park (1814) and Northerner Abbey. Themes and subject of these entire novels are class conflict and class consciousness in the society. Jane Austen portrays the social and moral picture of the contemporary society in her novels.
The story of Pride and Prejudice (1813) is a truly depiction of stratified system of landed gentry society. In this type of society every character are aware of their moral values and social standing that develops prejudices toward each other. The characters belonging to upper class such as Darcy, Bingley and Catharine Debourgh have the consciousness of noble status and high birth makes them proud and arrogant. Characters belonging to middle class suffer from the arrogance of upper class and develop prejudice against them.
188.8.131.52 Emily Bronte
Emily Bronte was a renowned English writer and poet of the 19th century. She was born in 1818 and died 1848. Withering Heights which is published in 1847 is the only one novel written by her and she got a highly acclaimed by this novel. Heath cliff is a major character of the novel. Hindly is another character in the novel torturing Heath cliff because of his lower status and because he belongs to gypsy. Emily Bronte further portrayals the persecution of lower class when Catherine prefer Linton, who belongs to upper class, on Heat Cliff because Heat cliff belongs to lower class. This depicts that members of the society have much influence by the social norms and culture in a social stratifies society. The conflict exists between the Heat cliff and Miss Catherine is just because they belong to different social classes. Their status has a great influence on their personal lives.
184.108.40.206 Charles Dickens
In the middle of 19th century Charles John Huffman Dickens came forward. He was a great social critic. He is a prominent writer and regarded one of the greatest novelists of the Victorian period. Over the course of his career of writing, he created some great classic novels. Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities are the famous novels. Great Expectations is another novel in which he criticizes the contemporary society. Charles Dickens illustrated the real and true picture of prevalent social ideas and beliefs, moral and legal norms, social values and problems of prevailing Victorian society and shows that how wealth and materialistic approach make people reactive of their class status. Louis James argues about the works of Charles Dickens as regarded Charles Dickens is one of the central and important figures of English social Novelists. Because he usually written about his contemporary Victorian society. He portrays the norms and beliefs of his era. He is also written about the class conflict which is exists in the society.
220.127.116.11 Fyodor Dostoevsky
Russian Society has also the same predicament and irritant problem of Class difference and class conflict. Russian Writer and novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky Wrote about this drag pain society where the dilemma is as same as other countries are bearing it. And it can be minimize in one liner story that this curse is in instinct of man. Native problems are that a man has to face it with extraction and it has the continuity with time lasts. In his novel Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky extracts his grief in the story that the emergence of Class conflict makes one’s life Suffer. He also shows that the low stature of Russian life made man hollow inward as well as outward. The novel intrigues the rotten correspondence between the elite and lower classes. It also illustrates the values, ethics, manners and good terms also nipped under the Russian materialistic power of High class. This made their society beaten and worthless and this affinity kinship alliance of power made the poor the poorest of 19th century in Russia.