Class Matters Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 36 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Class Matters.
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Class Matters Summary & Study Guide Description

Class Matters Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Class Matters by The New York Times.

Class Matters proves that class does matter. Sometimes it’s a rather sticky and uncomfortable issue but it’s there. As much as most people want to claim a homogenous American culture, there are the traditional classes of the upper, upper-middle, middle and low or working class. However, the wealthy who inhabited such exclusive places in the nation like Nantucket Island off the coast of Cape Cod were the descendants of the Rockefellers, du Ponts, Vanderbilts and other such wealthy iconic families.

Nowadays the Island is being invaded by what is referred to as the hyper-rich. This new class represents the nouveau-riche, those individuals who make a killing on Wall Street or whose innovative concepts result in wealth beyond anyone’s imagination. The new rich are outdistancing the old rich. If they aren’t accepted into an private country club on the island, they build their own and make it more exclusive and opulent than the one that refused them. Old money is proud of their 45-foot yachts even though 200-foot yachts of the new money sail past them.

While everyone is fascinated by the rich and famous, most Americans are not in that elite class and know they never will be. It doesn’t disturb most people; all they want is the chance for a slice of the pie albeit a smaller one. Most Americans believe they are in the middle class although they aspire to climb a few rungs higher up the ladder. They also have the hope that their children will have more success than they do. Upper and middle class parents go to great lengths to make sure that their children receive the best education possible within their means. The upper class has no problem with tuition costs but the middle class have learned to be practical about aspirations for their children’s education.

Lower class, or the more politically correct term – the working class, does not have the same options as the middle class. Many work long hours or two jobs just to make it. They don’t have time to help their children with homework; their children are often in sub-standard schools in which the system lets its students down. The idea of college is just a fleeting dream in the minds of these parents. Providing the basics, food and shelter, is the focus.

The immigrant class, especially those who are undocumented from Mexico and South America, have the least chance of achieving the American dream. They live in the shadows, fearing exposure will result in deportation. They flounder around from one menial job to another, don’t learn English and have carved out their own world within a world with their fellow countrymen. They have the least chance to enjoy the classic story of the immigrant who achieves his dreams and climbs up from the ladder’s lowest rung.

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