Study Guide

Me Before You Society and Class

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Society and Class

I knew the real reason for Dad's anxiety. They relied on my wages. (1.65)

Lou comes from a working-class background, so there's a lot of pressure on her to support her family. This causes a great deal of tension at times—tension that the Traynors have never really had to deal with.

She was wearing a trouser suit that I guessed cost more than my dad earned in a month. (2.21)

We wouldn't be surprised. The Traynor family couldn't be more different from the Clark family, and we see their respective classes play a big role in their differences.

In our street "posh" could mean anyone who didn't have a family member in possession of an antisocial behavior order. (2.101)

Here's a truth bomb for you, Lou—there's plenty of rich folks with mental issues. Just look at the Traynor family, right? If we were feeling like armchair psychologists, we'd be diagnosing those suckers left and right; everyone has their struggles.

I'm not the kind of person this happened to. Or at least, I thought I wasn't. (8.3)

Camilla Traynor's upper-class status has blinded her from reality in many ways. Fate is a random thing, and it doesn't check your bank account balance before dealing its cards.

With ordinary people [...] most would stare. [...] Here's the thing about middle-class people. They pretend not to look, but they do. (12.48-49)

First off, we love that Lou refers to working-class folks as "ordinary" and middle- and upper-class people as weirdoes. This is some great insight into the cultural differences between the classes—but it also shows how each class thinks of itself and other classes. Whoever you are, you probably think that you and those like you are ordinary, while everyone else is a weirdo in some way.

But if I had found it hard to get employment, prospects for a fifty-five-year-old man who had only ever held one job were harder. (14.11)

This is an issue that's as relevant now as ever. Mr. Clark has been a factory worker for his entire life, and that doesn't necessarily make for the most compelling LinkedIn profile. Still, the dude is an incredibly hard worker and a good man—shouldn't that count for something?

The difference between growing up like me and growing up like Will was that he wore his sense of entitlement lightly. (17.157)

This is some more great insight, courtesy of Lou. Will's not entitled in the traditional sense—he doesn't expect to have everything handed to him on a silver platter, and he's always been a hard worker—but his life is imbued with a sense that everything is meant to go his way. Lou has never had that luxury.

The morning of the wedding dawned bright and balmy, as I had secretly known it would. Girls like Alicia always go their way (18.34)

Lou clearly has a bit of resentment toward upper-class gals like Alicia. We can't blame her for that, but we think that she's learned a lot more about the struggles faced by everyone, regardless of class, by the end of the book.

The weddings I went to usually had to separate the bride's and groom's family for fear of someone breaching the terms of their parole. (18.74)

Now, that's pretty amazing. Although it sounds like Lou is talking negatively about the people she grew up with, we think she's actually talking about them in an affectionate way. She much prefers that sort of chaos to the sterile banality of rich folks.

I cannot tell you how much better I felt once I saw the way posh people danced. (18.150)

Have you ever been to a dance party at a yacht club? People don't so much look like they're dancing as much as swatting a horde of insects that are assailing them. It's scary.

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