Social classes within communities are mostly as a result of differences in major areas of life for example the level of education, the amount of wealth or income one earns and the position that one holds in the society among other factors.
In any given society, it is common to find the upper class, the upper middle class, the lower middle class, the working class and the poor. This paper will explore the topic of class and will specifically seek to prove that it is possible for one to achieve their dreams in life regardless of the social class that they belong to.
Summary of the articles
How class affects one’s education
The relationship between class and education can be evident in the article by Leonhardt and Scott (p 8), who observe that the number of students who belong to the upper class in around 250 colleges has significantly risen compared to that of students from the lower class income. This has led to some colleges looking for intervention measures that will favor the lower income earners.
This is because; they have noticed that a lot of talent is being lost because of the inability by the students from lower income families to access education. Leonhardt (p 1) further gives an example of how class can affect ones education using Andy Blevins, who decides to quit college in order to continue working. His decision is motivated by his poor background. He is an example of the many young people who decide to quit school and prefer to work because of their class.
How class affects health care
Leonhardt and Scottt (p 8) state that there is an observable difference between one class and another in terms of health care. The upper class is better placed in accessing health care and consequently has a higher life expectancy compared to the middle and the lower classes. On the other hand, the middle class is better off compared to the lower class, which is the worst hit in the area of health care and hence, a lower life expectancy compared to the other classes.
How class affects marriage
In terms of marriage, Leonhardt and Scottt (p 8) say that class determines the choice of the place where one lives and the people who one associates with. Those in the high class tend to have their children at a time in their life when they are stable financially and also due to the delay in getting married, they are able to have fewer children.
Children from the upper class therefore have more privileges in life compared to their counterparts in the lower and middle classes. Some of the effects of class on marriages are shown through the lives of Mr. Croteau and Ms Woolner. Married and from two extremes in terms of their classes, they try very hard to reconcile their differences to build up a stable family. Their differences are so pronounced until they are evident even to their children (Lewin p 4).
Determination and motivation regardless of one’s class
The story of James in the book ‘The Color of Water by James McBride’ is a perfect illustration of how one can succeed in life against all odds. James goes through a series of difficulties in life for example, the death of his biological father and also his step father, a background whereby the mother was abused by her father and also the race of his mother. He turns to drugs to escape from reality but later reforms and is able to have great achievements in life, which is also a source of joy to the mother (SparkNotes p1).
The story of Mr. Croteau and Ms Woolner is also one of determination and how it can help one overcome every barrier and achieve what one desires. In their marriage, they have to overcome insurmountable odds in order for it to succeed, the class difference being the greatest. By the end of the story, they are still together and have a guiding philosophy that they must press on regardless of their obstacles.
Although class plays a significant role in the kind of life that one leads, it should not be seen as if one has to remain in one class forever. With determination and motivation, one can achieve anything, including moving up from a lower class to upper class.
Leonhardt, David. The College Dropout Boom. New York: New York Times, 2005
Lewin, Tamar. When Richer Weds Poorer, Money Isn’t the Only Difference. New York: New York Times, 2005
Scott, Janny and Leonhardt, David. Shadowy Lines That Still Divide. New York: New York Times, 2005
SparkNotes. The color of water: plot overview. SparkNotes LLC. 2011. Retrieved on 27 June, 2011 from