Muggles and class
Something that I don’t feel gets enough focus in fandom is the issue of class - and, importantly, the difference between the working class Snape family, and the middle class Evans family.
Many Snape fans register the double standard of Petunia sneering at Snape for being poor whilst fandom focuses solely on his dismissal of her being a Muggle.
I have also posted several times about the presentation of Sirius, and how I think he has the background and upbringing that Snape may have felt should’ve been his, if only his mother had married a pureblood wizard and not a Muggle.
I’ve seen many posts talking about both Lily and Hermione as Muggleborn witches and the oppression that they face in the wizarding world, but both characters were relatively fortunate; neither were subject to Umbridge’s Ministry regulations, and Voldemort’s grand plans never came off. Both were embroiled in wars, but both chose to fight for their cause.
They both seemingly had a good time at Hogwarts, and their teachers seemed to like them. Lily was clever, popular, and became a prefect. She ended up marrying a pureblood from a very old family. Hermione was clever and whilst not popular per se, she was friends with the most famous kid in school…and like Lily, became a prefect. She ended up marrying a pureblood from a very old family, and later became Minister for Magic.
So although the transition between the two worlds could’ve been fraught with danger, and sometimes skirted with it, fortunately neither were particularly viciously oppressed. Their time at Hogwarts was relatively well protected from such negative sentiment.
But the opposite seems to have been true for Eileen, moving from the wizarding world to the Muggle world. For whatever reasons, she ends up in a lower class structure, and then neither she nor her son can transcend it.
When Severus moves into the wizarding world, his poverty is obvious through his clothing and his appearance, and it is mocked by others. It is only as an adult that he moves past this - and arguably, that is due to him gaining a middle class profession and the pay cheque that goes with it…and we know that he only gains that status through exploitation, and not solely on merit.
I hasten to add that it’s not that Lily or Hermione would’ve always sailed through - in some alternate universes, they could’ve ended up in a very poor way. …but I do think it is striking that their class arguably affords them some protection.
We simply don’t see any kids in Harry’s era who are from similar stock. The closest we get is Harry himself, who is falsely treated in such a way. The Dursleys are middle class and should’ve treated him as such, but even though they don’t, Harry’s financial problems are erased the moment he discovers that he’s a wizard.
Otherwise, we’re looking at Ron - but again, his poor background is juxtaposed with a warm and loving family, and magical solutions. There’s nobody else with quite the depiction that Snape has.
It rather begs the question, quite what would anyone have made of Severus if he’d been Muggleborn and poor?