Ok, so we all know that Hepzibah was part of the Aristotelian class. She lived all her life with her family money and now in her old age has to open the cent shop that was created by her ancestor. This change is not like the change we all underwent Sunday, August 24-going to bed with your mind in what I like to call it “summer mode” and waking up the next day and having to force your mind to switch to “school mode.” No, this was not a minor change like that. She went to bed as an Aristocrat and arose a woman in the working class.
Hawthorne states the change best on page 34 as he describes the scene when the little schoolboy pays her for the gingerbread cookie in the window, “The little schoolboy… had wrought an irreparable ruin. The structure of ancient aristocracy had been demolished by him, even as if his childish grip had torn down the seven gabled mansion (34).” With that transaction, it was official. Hepzibah was now part of the working class. Hawthorne describes the event as the demolishing of the structure of ancient aristocracy. No one is supposed to change classes. You are what you are born into. But here, with the help of the little schoolboy the division no longer stands. The little schoolboy demolished what status Hepzibah had even with the house. Hawthorne symbolizes her status with the house but then he says that the little schoolboy demolishes it.
As I embark on my final year here at the University of Pittsburgh, I often feel the squeeze of that which is the real world. I always worked growing, from mowing my grandparents’ lawns to screen-printing t-shirts as a high school job. Money was never really an issue. But now, my life has changed. I work 30 hours a week at the Carnegie Science Center and go to school full time. Needless to say, I do not have that much free time on my hands. Well, I am trying to make ends meet while not tapping into my student loans. It is this that worries me most, leaving school, owing thousands of dollars and knowing that every month hundreds of my hard-earned dollars will go towards paying them off. This is a big change for me. I have never been in debt until two months ago when I got my first credit card and I am petrified.
My lifestyle as I know it is about to change. I furthered my education not just to become a more learned individual, but also to have a better lifestyle when I graduate. Now, what if I can’t find a job in my respective field? I could be forced to go back to the blue-collar lifestyle I lived in high school. I did not come to college, create a humongous debt for myself, just to go back to work in a blue-collar job. Though not anywhere near the magnitude of what “our beloved heroin” Hepzibah did, it is still a downward movement. A movement against the “American Dream” and a move I do not want to make. We do have a class system today, I believe similar to that of Hepzibah’s. It is a class system where it is easy to go down, but extremely hard to work your way up. It is a system where you have to know people or have money to make it anywhere.