25 february 2017
In the film Grand Canyon Lawrence Kasdan, director, shows a few characters that are all from different levels of class that all live in Los Angeles. For instance, Mack is an upper-middle who is an attorney. While Simon is a high prole who is a tow truck driver. According to the book Class written by Paul Fussell, such things as: clothing, occupations, and housing, can determine one’s social class level. However, Mack and Simon come from different social classes, they both respect each other as if they were in the same class.
According to Fussell style, taste, and awareness are just as important as money is. One factor is clothing, in fact the way Mack dresses says a lot about him and the social class that he comes from. He wears suits all the time and they are always fitted. The way one dresses says a lot about them before even having a conversation. Mack is constantly wearing a suit and tie or at least a nice formal shirt.
He rarely wears a T-shirt since he is an upper-middle. People in the upper-middle tend to care more about the way they dress and present themselves. Although he is a male, he does not wear much jewelry. Even though he could wear a watch, he doesnt. As fussell says The general class rule about wrist-watches is, the more scientific technological, and space-age, the lower. (65). As for the ties he wears they are always a darker shade of color with a simple pattern rather than bright colors on it. Mack is always in some sort of suit or well dressed clothes that appear to be neutral, warm colors; therefore he is in the upper-middle class. Although he seems to always be appropriately dressed during the day, he might just wear a regular T-shirt to bed just like any lower class would.
Meanwhile Simon is constantly wearing T-shirts with logos on them and baseball cap, he is grouped to be a high prole. He is always wearing a hat which is considered to be a frivolous accessory. Next to the T-shirt, the prole cap is probably the favorite place for the display of language. (70). Simon is a very well dressed man to be in high prole; however he could dress a little bit better if he tried. In contrast to Mack, Simon is a very well behaved man and has good manners, therefore if he would adjust some things in life he could be close to be considered a middle. Some ways he can adjust his life are as follows: the place he lives, the clothes he wears, and where he works. These few things are all possible to change. One might say his race is impossible to change which would not make him considered to be in a higher class than the ones in the prole class. Another factor would be for instance, the baseball caps that he wears. Most of the time he is wearing a NY Mets baseball cap. In Fussells book he mentions; if a baseball cap is being worn by a high prole it is probably because it is from a winning team.
Fussell believes that the better the occupation the higher the class. As for Mack he is an attorney who works in a nice tall office. His furniture in the office is all clean and neatly organized. He has a few baseball souvenirs on his desk representing the NY Mets. Two motives urge middle-class and prole fans to obsession with their sports.(115). Mack may be in the upper-middle class; however he does have some features as to what team he likes that make him and any lower class have a lot in common. Even though mack works in a office and is very well respected man by others, he might be a lawyer to someone in the lower class and help them with their case. Mack has an assistant which probably means he is the highest level in the office. He is his own boss and does not have other people telling him what to do, once again proving another way that he is in the upper-middle class.
Moreover Simon is a to truck driver who does not work in an office, instead he works in a car shop and is pretty much his own boss. His job is a come and go; or on call as some would say an on-call job. If it wasnt for his job, Mack and Simon would never have met. The middle class is distinguishable more by its earnestness and psychic insecurity than by its middle income. (39). The people in the middle classes are more worried about their job and how they approach their clients than by the money they know is going to come infor doing the job. Simon is constantly working hard and helping others when needed. His sister Deborah is always in need of some type of help and he is always there to deliver it. Simon and Mack are both very generous men and both approach their jobs as they should; nevertheless Simon approaches his job in very different ways than Mack does. Although it does not seem like he makes very much money he somehow seems to make enough or has been saving in order to be able to send hi daughter to a deaf college in Washington D.C. he also helps his sister out financially every once in awhile.
While Fussell believes that the longer the driveway is, the higher a person’s class is. Macks housing is very upper-middle and i one were to see it they would automatically assume that he is perhaps and upper-middle person. His driveway to his house if curved so he could park in it when he pleases. He has a two story home and a very large yard, front and back. The upper-class version will be set back farther from the street.( 81) His house has very many features as follows: set back from the curb, curved driveway, high ceilings, and nice large yard. These prove that he is an upper-middle. With his job keeping him constantly busy; as well as to maintaining a nice yard he obviously has someone hired to keep up with his yard. In his bathroom there are small pane windows and they are in the kitchen as well. He has wooden floors all throughout the house. As for his back yard there is a swimming pool and his outdoor furniture is kept very clean and it is wood as well and has nice cushions on them. Having high ceilings according to Fussell means one cares more about their home when there is company over.
Meanwhile Simon lives in an apartment on the second floor. He has to park his car against the curb. In his living room he has a TV and a simple couch and not much furniture; however the furniture he does have all matches. He does not have very large yard and no backyard at all. The yard that the apartment complex has is maybe a good ten feet away from the street and there is a straight driveway. Down among the middles and high proles the set ceases to be an occasion of shame and becomes instead a specific glory of the family.(92) High proles tend to not really care about the way their home looks because they do not have much guests over; however the time they do have guests their place is well organized and neat.
In conclusion, Mack and Simon both have very different lives when it comes to their job, house, and self appearance; however they are both still human and have a lot in common. When it comes to having to do the right thing they both know what to do. There are many things in their lives that have them question the purpose of it all but they both get the same answer as to seeing the Grand Canyon. Fussell has many different ways of explaining the way all classes are different, but they are all similar in most ways.
Fussell, Paul. Class. Touchstone, 1992.
Grand Canyon. Dir. Lawrence Kasdan. Perf. Danny Glover, Kevin Kline, and Mary McDonnell. 1991. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2000.