by George Bernard Shaw
Pygmalion Transformation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.
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)
Moving up in society can require a complete transformation; money, it seems, can't buy everything.
The flower girl enters in state. She has a hat with three ostrich feathers, orange, sky-blue, and red. She has a nearly clean apron, and the shoddy coat has been tidied a little. The pathos of this deplorable figure, with its innocent vanity and consequential air, touches Pickering, who has already straightened himself in the presence of Mrs. Pearce. (2.21)
What seems like an honest attempt at "looking respectable" to Eliza seems merely pitiful to Pickering. Not all transformations are successful, and sometimes the failure to change can be more affecting than success.
[[Doolittle] hurries to the door, anxious to get away with his booty. When he opens it he is confronted with a dainty and exquisitely clean young Japanese lady in a simple blue cotton kimono printed cunningly with small white jasmine blossoms. Mrs. Pearce is with her. He gets out of her way deferentially and apologizes]. Beg pardon, miss.
THE JAPANESE LADY. Garn! Don't you know your own daughter? (2.289-290)
Given the right circumstances, even the most superficial adjustment can lead to a profound and surprising change.