Study Guide

Dirty Dancing Society and Class

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Society and Class

A film called Dirty Socioeconomic Class Differences would never do well at the box office. It's not a catchy title. It wouldn't fit comfortably on a poster. And who would star in it? Martin Shkreli? No, too dirty.

We don't need a movie like that because Dirty Dancing is brimming with commentary on society. You've got the guests at the resort, who are obviously affluent enough to have a summer vacay in the Catskills, and the dancers, who have to accommodate their every request and deal with condescension and insults. Robbie's relationship with Penny is exhibit A in the class war: he can get away with bad behavior, and she and Johnny are presumed guilty.

We're still not sure what the Pachanga is, but maybe it has something to do with not looking down on someone because of their social class.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. How are the staff and the entertainment at Kellerman's divided? How is each group treated differently?
  2. How do Johnny and Penny initially see Baby? What does Baby do to change their minds?
  3. Why would Baby rather mingle with the dancers than with other guests at Kellerman's?
  4. Why does Baby's dad not want her to see Johnny? Do his reasons have to do with class or with something else?

Chew on This

By separating the dancers from the rest of the resort, Kellerman emphasizes the attitude that the dancers are social outcasts.

Baby doesn't see social class, but a big reason for that is that she's grown up with a lot of privilege. What she learns at Kellerman's is truly eye-opening, and she wants to change it.

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