ultural Capital and Social Class as Manifestations of The Secret History





Cultural Capital and Social Class as Manifestations of The Secret History

Despite its mythological dispositions, the book The Secret History by Donna Tartt provides various reflections on the subject of class. Based on the story, a group of wealthy students, while detached from other members of Hampden University, is apparently engaging in a cult of rituals, which in the end lead to their unfortunate demises, specifically by murder-suicide. In this respect, the detachment of the students from the rest of the class illustrates the extent to which social class maintains a considerable force in relationships forged in institutions. In this case, the subject of class maintains a grasp on the relationships among students in the respective campus. In order to reiterate on the detachment of the students from the general society, the novel’s inclination towards the issue of class illustrates the presence of cultural capital and the effect of class on social interaction and relationships.

The concept of cultural capital is a recurrent manifestation based on the novel’s implicit focus on the subject of class. In overview, cultural capital refers to the cultural resources that persons possess due to their position within their social hierarchy. The notion usually focuses on the social resources that people within the higher class have and the effect they have on their behavior and social mobility. In The Secret History, the students of the classical Greek class, aside from the narrator, belong to a certain class. With their social resources, such as the way they talk, their dress, their education, and intellect, these students are capable of pursuing classical Greek. This factor positions them at a different level with other students focusing on their studies within the same liberal arts college.

The aspect of cultural capital poses an effect on the narrator’s need to establish a social connection with the classical Greek class. With the students being unable to mingle with others due to their adopted Greek lifestyles, it became particularly difficult for the narrator to create a relationship with them. Specifically, the narrator lacked the cultural capital to gain the benefits of joining the respective group. For instance, the respective student lacked a high-status relationship with the teacher of the classical Greek class, who was particularly responsible for the direction, attitude, and behavior of the students. Additionally, the student was also unable to lead the Greek lifestyle that the detached students maintained. Such social assets (cultural capital) determined the complexities and difficulties the narrator experienced in his quest to establish a relationship with the classical Greek students.

With cultural capital, the effect of class is also another important manifestation. In this context, the aspect of class affects the way in which the students relate with each other. In worse circumstances, class leads to the development of stereotypes that further restrict the students from communicating and interacting positively. For instance, based on the advice of the professor, students taking part in other classes aside from Greek were deemed as immoral. In addition to this, the aspect of class influenced the formation of relationships within the campus. For instance, the students from the classical Greek class were particularly selective regarding their colleagues from the respective linguistic course. With such influences due to the subject of class, the students became detached significantly from other students, which implicitly led to participation in corruption and evil due to influences of their adopted Greek lifestyles.

In conclusion, the subject of class as exemplified in The Secret History illustrates the extent to which social class determines relationships among persons occupying the same community or society. In this context, the manifestations of this subject comprise cultural capital and the effect of class on social relationships and interactions. Interestingly, both of these materializations are evident in the society today. Over the years, the aspects of cultural capital and class have affected the manner in which people relate. Ownership of resources has determined social order to the extent of dividing the society into categories from the upper to the lower class.

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