Study Guide

Serena Society and Class

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Society and Class

True or false: America is a classless society.

Before you answer, you might want to think about the fact that Serena and Pemberton are born into wealthy families and only get richer through their timber business. Meanwhile, their workers save their pennies and dimes to buy scraps to survive. In many ways, it seems like Serena argues that the American dream of making yourself rich is false. Sure, Serena and Pemberton get richer through their business-savvy and murderous habits, but they were rich to begin with. As for the workers? They have to work themselves to the bone to barely make ends meet.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. Would Serena and Pemberton be able to act in the same way if they were lower class? Why does their class matter to the book?
  2. What are some examples of discrimination based on class (a.k.a. classism) in the book? Who looks down on the lower classes the most?
  3. Which characters in this book are working-class? What are they like, and what tone does the book take toward them?

Chew on This

Even though the workers are overworked and underpaid, they are much happier than the wealthy citizens in the book.

Serena and Pemberton use their higher social class to control and manipulate people, like government officials.

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