Study Guide

You Can't Take It With You Society and Class

Society and Class

Class in You Can't Take It With You is a little tricky. The Kirby's are obviously very upper class and snooty. But what about the Sycamores? They're figured as common folks, but they're not poor. They have a big house, servants, and enough income to live as they like without anyone having to work very hard. That makes them pretty well off, especially by the standards of the Depression.

The truth is, the difference between the Kirbys and the Sycamores isn't exactly class so much as disposition or culture. The Kirbys are well-off businesspeople; the Sycamores are well-off Bohemians — or hippies, if you prefer. It's not so much rich vs. poor as squares vs. artists. The artists, Capra the artist says, have more fun.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. Does the film hate bankers? Explain your answer.
  2. Is Grandpa rich? Explain your answer.
  3. Is the Judge in the film on the side of the wealthy or of the common people? What does this say about the film's vision of justice in America?

Chew on This

The film shows that having lots of money makes you bitter and grasping.

The film shows that having lots of money allows you to be carefree and pursue your dreams.

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