America is Not a Class-less Society

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Apparently not. Paul Fussell said class is alive and well in the US. Even you, gentle reader, cannot affirm that there are no classes at the same moment as calling some people low-class and others high class.

If America is not class-less, how many classes are there?

Fussell considers and dismisses three hypotheses:

  1. Two: Poor and rich? Not necessarily.
  2. Three: Lower, middle, and upper? Not really.
  3. Hundreds: Are classes unlimited then? Not really.

He says that nine classes are intelligible in the U.S. And he says that it’s not money alone that separates the classes (27). It’s also taste, style, and awareness.

The 9 Classes

  1. Top out of sight
  2. Upper class
  3. Upper middle class
  4. Middle class
  5. High proletarian
  6. Mid-proletarian
  7. Low proletarian
  8. Destitute
  9. Bottom out of sight

Our book club is aiming to discuss this book because we are fascinated by class. (He says fascination with class is very middle class!)