I teach a module which is loosely centred on working class heroes. Basically, the crux of the course is to get students to be able to answer one of six thematic questions on Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, whilst also adding wider comparisons to any other text or film they have studied.
What makes it interesting is that the male protagonist from the classic Gothic tale, Heatchliff, is a right bastard of a working class anti-hero, who overcomes oppressive class systems and abusive adopted-brothers to cheat his way to the top of said class system. Students then learn to contrast this with another working class hero, Arthur Seaton, from Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
Seaton, unlike Heathcliff, chooses not to try and climb up the social ladder but just carries on being proper working class; building bikes at the nearby Raleigh factory, drinking so many pints that he falls down the stairs in the social club, and can barely wait to get into his absent workmates house to give the lonely wife a good seeing to; he even watches her undergo a DIY abortion then goes for a pint and ends up shagging her sister.
What a fucking hero.
Check out these Carhartt and Penfield shirts that Working Class Heroes have just got in. The Penfield one is well hikerdelic.