Study Guide

You Should Have Known Wealth and Social Class

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

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Wealth and Social Class

Before the whole disappearance/murder fiasco throws her into the deep end, Grace's life is in much shallower territory. While she and Jonathan are financially comfortable, she recognizes that they're nowhere near as wealthy as most of the parents at Henry's posh private school. The uber-rich families operate on a different playing field, one with toe-shortening surgeries, Birkin bags, and $25,000 summer camps. Grace often feels like she doesn't quite belong around her wealthier peers. Still, they're all Rearden parents, and Grace realizes that the only thing separating them from fellow Rearden mom/murder victim Malaga is their money.

Questions About Wealth and Social Class

  1. Does Grace's financial standing affect her ability to connect with other Rearden parents?
  2. Name two examples of times when Grace slips up and reveals that she actually does care that she isn't as wealthy as others in her social circle.
  3. How do Grace's perceptions of social classes change after she and Henry move to the lake house?

Chew on This

Grace feels like an outsider among the high-rollers of Rearden, but she also considers herself "above" the frivolous, worldly things that are important to them.

Because Grace is so stuck on the idea that Henry's expensive private school is the "best of the best," she assumes that Henry's new public school will be horrible and the kids will be hillbillies. In reality, the public school is just as strong as Rearden academically—even stronger in some subjects—and Henry makes friends there easily.

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