Sophia the Pretentious

In Phebe Gibbes’s Hartley House, Sophia often utilizes references to works from authors such as Dryden and Milton to demonstrate her ‘English Class’. In the book I think that Sophia utilizes the allusions or references to great english works so that she can brag about how much ‘cooler’ she is than her dear friend Arabella. Sophia in one of her many letters stated “But perhaps, instead of thinking yourself obliged to me, you will, with true European sangiford, suspect me of self- gratification in my descriptions; beware, however, of such erroneous conclusions, as you value the future favors of your own…” (Gibbs, p.14). This quote demonstrates sophia need to brag and show off to her friend how much class and cultured she is. The author does this in order to illuminate the obsessiveness the English had with their own cultural class hierarchy and to also offer a satirical analysis of the way in which the english language was used in such a complicated way to demonstrate ‘intelligence’ and along with that, ‘class’. Her reference to Dryden also emphasizes this in that Dryden was known for his admiration of the english language  so much so that he wrote The Indian Emperor, in closed couplets and iambic pentameters in a true heroic drama style. Although written in fancy English, Drydens drama is hard to follow and not easy for the average person to understand, even at that time in period. This is significant because although he is trying to uplift the english language, he is essentially uplifting nonsense. Ironically the more complicated and rare your diction and complex sentence structure was, the more intelligent you sounded which lead to a superiority complex and class distinction; even Sophia relies heavy on her cultured references and large amount of words to brag to her friend Arabella to demonstrate to Arabella how high society she is and to the reader how immature and spoiled she is.

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2 thoughts on “Sophia the Pretentious

  1. I definitely also felt the arrogance coming from Sophia and her need to feel of the “elite” class. However, do you think there is something deeper in her constant strife for validation? Generally, when one cannot help but brag, they are hiding a deep-set insecurity. With the backdrop of being in a new country, and speaking to a friend back home I think further examination can provide deeper answers into why she acts so “spoiled”.

    Great Blog!

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  2. The main point is, “I think that Sophia utilizes the allusions or references to great English works so that she can brag about how much ‘cooler’ she is than her dear friend Arabella.” You used strong evidence but you seemed to go off topic briefly to talk about Dryden rather than the narrative and you may need to add a title. Other than that you seem good to go.

    Extra Credit 3/25/2

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