in Claverings

Chapter 08 – The House in Onslow Crescent

Sophy Burton

“Sophy” comes from the Greek noun sophia, meaning skill, knowledge, or wisdom.  Sophy Burton is only about four years old, so it is difficult to tell if her name speaks to her character.  However, it is ironic that her father, who disdains traditional Classical education and the airs it gives young men, would bestow a Classical name upon his daughter.  [SH 2012]


Theodore Burton’s estimation of a Classical education

At the end of Chapter 8, Harry’s future brother-in-law gives a rather biting appraisal of Harry’s Classical education, stating that it makes men pretentious even though it “requires no experience and very little real thought.”  Theodore further claims that such an education makes men of no “real use” in society.  This harsh evaluation highlights the class differences and value systems of the Burton and Clavering families.  The Claverings are members of the gentry and esteem Harry’s fellowship and intellectual pursuits as fitting for his station; the Burtons have achieved middle-class success through work and are interested in practical knowledge that one can use to create something productive for society and to make a living.  [SH 2012]