A Little Princess
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Little Princess Theme of Society and Class
Oh boy, is class a loaded issue in A Little Princess or what? Sara's class in society is in flux throughout the book—and when it changes, it's quite interesting to see how other characters react to her. Some, like Lavinia and Miss Minchin, treat her completely differently when she is rich and has standing in society vs. when she is poor and "nameless." Others, like Ermengarde and Lottie, couldn't care less. They see Sara as a human being no matter what her class is and they want to be her friend. Any guesses as to which group is the more reasonable and compassionate?
Questions About Society and Class
- Why does class matter so much to the characters in the book?
- How are people like Sara and Becky considered "different" at the beginning of the book? Are they still different at the end, or can we see them as more similar?
- What happens when Sara falls in station in society? How do other people react?
- How much does Miss Minchin care about class rather than money? Or are money and class the same to her?
Chew on This
The more narrow-minded characters in the book, like Lavinia, only judge people by their social station, and therefore they never grow as people.
Sara doesn't limit her friends to members of her own class—she befriends both Becky and the Lascar next door. This offers her more opportunities for relationships than other people have.