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One theme the novel explores is what it means to be oneself. Another theme the book looks at is how social classes affect people's lives.

What does the novel suggest is the interplay between social class and self-determination in shaping people's destinies?


The limitations and dictates imposed on individuals by class structures actually arise out of very real differences in material conditions. At the same time, the material conditions of the lower classes can and should be changed by those in the upper classes so that all can be more equal.


Class structures need not dictate or impose limitations on individuals because all people are humans at the core and all have the ability to make choices for their lives. At the same time, class structures probably won't ever completely vanish, and it can be difficult to fight them or operate outside of them.


Individualism is more important than anything, and it is crucial to make up one's own mind on every matter of importance. Although is difficult to operate outside the limitations and dictates of class structures, people should try to break free from the status quo, no matter the cost.


Traditional class structures and traditional values are important. It is only by operating within the restrictions of class that individuals can forge their own meaningful identities and affect change within their communities. It is futile to try to change other groups instead of changing your own.


Opportunities to break free from restrictive class structures and expectations exist only for exceptional individuals. Most people do not have the luxury of being concerned with their "individuality." Ordinary people's attempts to fight class differences or to operate outside them are bound to end in failure.

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