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Quotes

Quote #1

THE NOTE TAKER. Oh yes. Quite a fat one. This is an age of upstarts. Men begin in Kentish Town with 80 pounds a year, and end in Park Lane with a hundred thousand. They want to drop Kentish Town; but they give themselves away every time they open their mouths. Now I can teach them— (1.120)

Higgins suggests that he is living in a time when dreams can come true, when rags-to-riches stories are, well, more than just stories. At the same time, he acknowledges that the movement from Kentish Town to Park Lane is not only a matter of making a fortune.

Quote #2

THE FLOWER GIRL. I want to be a lady in a flower shop stead of selling at the corner of Tottenham Court Road. But they won't take me unless I can talk more genteel. He said he could teach me. Well, here I am ready to pay him—not asking any favor—and he treats me as if I was dirt. (2.34)

Eliza's ambitions are initially very modest and, given Higgins's expertise, not unrealistic. Only Higgins's bet inflates them, turns her small plans into big dreams.

Quote #3

HIGGINS [becoming excited as the idea grows on him] What is life but a series of inspired follies? The difficulty is to find them to do. Never lose a chance: it doesn't come every day. I shall make a duchess of this draggletailed guttersnipe. (2.82)

Higgins himself seems to be a big dreamer. He is as much interested in the idea of "taking a chance" and dreaming big as he is in the job he takes on.

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