- Feb 2020
A YOUNG Lady of distinguished Birth, Beauty, Wit, and Spirit,
As described in the novel, different classes had different perceptions of the way each class was supposed to dress and act like, making how someone dressed or acted an easy indicator of what social status they were a part of. Fantomina depicts this recognition of social differences when the author is describing the woman in the pit, “by her Air and Manner of receiving them, might easily be known to be one of those who come there for no other Purpose, than to create Acquaintance with as many as seem desirous of it”. The outward appearance and attitude of this woman in the pit would seem to indicate that this woman is of lower class. This indication is due to her personality that would be considered improper and extremely scandalous at the time. In comparison, the author describes the protagonist as, “A YOUNG Lady of distinguished Birth, Beauty, Wit, and Spirit”. This gleaming description of our protagonist completely overshadows the lackluster description of the lady in the pit. The extreme separation in outward appearance between the protagonist and the woman in the pit shows the fact that during the 18th century, outward appearance and personality were an easy indicator of what social class a person belongs to.