Many books and plays use as their themes the concept of prejudice and discrimination. Three of these such books are Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw, Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo.
In Pygmalion, Professor Higgins believes that Eliza has no feelings and does not deserve to live. This is discrimination against Eliza based on her occupation as a flower girl on the streets and on her cockney accent, as written. Mrs. Higgins also implies prejudice, but in a different way; Mrs. Higgins notes that, in order to be classified as a proper lady, Eliza would not be allowed to work. This implies that should Eliza want to work, she would not be considered a lady.
Raisin in the Sun also covers discrimination to a high degree. Beneatha Younger has the intention of being a doctor. Her brother, however, constantly attempts to squish her dream by yelling at her whenever she brings it up. It is his belief that women cannot be doctors, as supported by this quote:
“Who the hell told you you had to be a doctor? If you so crazy ‘bout messing round with sick people, go be a nurse like other women or just get married and be quiet!”
Another source of discrimination is that against African-Americans. Toward the end of the play, a representative of the neighborhood into which the Younger family is going to move visits them. Although the family at first believes he is welcoming him into the neighborhood, he soon makes it clear that they will not be welcomed there because of their African-American heritage.
Choose a character and analyze the standards of the fictional society in which the character exists; how the character is affected by and responds to those standards; and how the character s reactions develop meaning in the work. "Pygmalion," a play by Bernard Shaw, is a mixture of a romantic comedy and a satire in which the main character, Eliza Doolittle, is judged only based on her English ...
Yet another work which addresses discrimination is The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. At one point, Quasimoto is sentenced to a public thrashing and one hour in the pillory simply for walking in the streets in daylight. The crowd cheers as they watch him being sentenced; many people throw various things and one says that it was Quasimoto’s face which, when his wife looked at it, brought her a child with two heads. Most of the crowds consider Quasimoto to be a monster or a demon, as supported by the following quote:
“I cannot help thinking,” said Agnes la Herme, “that it is some brute, something between a Jew and a beast – something in short that is not Christian, and ought to be drowned or burned.
The Egyptian Esmerelda is also discriminated against. She is frequently accused by Chantefleurie, amonst others, of being a cannibal, a demon, a child stealer, and a thief. She is, at one point, invited into a home by a few girls, who mock her for her the shabbiness of her gypsy clothes. These events display discrimination of both heritage and of financial situation.
Discrimination is a common thing, and there will always be authors who compose their own works on it. These three seem to be good indicators of real-life scenarios of prejudice.