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The class position of different characters and how this defines their choices and opportunities is a major theme in the novel. Because Griet's family is working-class and not wealthy, she has to accept the position to work as a maid, even though she is reluctant to do so. It also makes her more likely to seriously consider marrying Pieter because he will be able to provide her with a stable economic future. Even though Griet is intelligent, perceptive, and sensitive, it is largely her class position which determines how other characters perceive her.