Matthew Arnold is really a great fighter for prevailing real culture in the society of London. He finds the kingdom of materialism that is trying to strangle real culture. So, in this chapter, Arnold divides the society of England into three classes – The Aristocratic Class, the Middle Class and the Working Class. He finds Anarchy very common in these classes and analyses them with their virtues and defects. He designates the Aristocratic class of his time as the Barbains, the Middle class as the Philistines and the Working class as the Populace.
His scrutiny of three classes of his time proves him a good experienced critic. For Aristocratic class, he views that this class lacks adequate courage for resistance. He calls this class the Barbarians because they believe in their personal individualism, liberty and doing as one likes; they had great passion for field sports. Their manly exercise, their strength and their good looks are definitely found in the Aristocratic class of his time. Their politeness resembles the Chivalry Barbarians, and their external styles in manners, accomplishments and powers are inherited from the Barbarians.
The other class is the middle class or the Philistines, known by its mundane wisdom, expert of industry and found busy in industrialization and commerce. Their eternal inclination is to the progress and prosperity of the country by building cities, railroads and running the great wheels of industry. They have produced the greatest mercantile navy. So, they are the Empire builders. In this material progress, the working class is with them. All the keys of progress are in their hands.
The other class is the working class or the populace. This class is known raw and half-developed because of poverty and other related diseases. This class is mostly exploited by the Barbarians and Philistines. The author finds democratic arousing in this class because they are getting political consciousness and are coming out from their hiding places to assert an English man’s heaven- born privilege of doing as he likes, meeting where he likes, bawling what he likes, and breaking what he likes.
Despite such class system, Arnold finds a common basis of human nature in all. So, the spirit of sweetness and light can be founded. Even Arnold calls himself philistine and rises above his level of birth and social status in his pursuit of perfection, sweetness and light and culture. He further says that all three classes find happiness in what they like. For example, the Barbarians like honour and consideration,…