Marxism in Literature: Conflict in the Classics Essay

August 25, 2017 General Studies

Two short narratives will be analyzed utilizing a Marxist lens to look into unsolved struggle among characters and state of affairss where struggle arises to demo category battle in society. Both “Hills Like White Elephants” by Hemingway and “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” by Wright show struggle in their characters lives and in larger society. Those who use Marxist literary theory to research the characters and their scenes in society usage both the external and internal struggles in a character’s life.

Sometimes the interior struggle can mirror external jobs in a symbolic manner. so Marxist theoreticians must detect the same literary devices as other critics. such as symbolism. personification. metaphor and so on to grok how the struggle can outdo be described. In “Hills Like White Elephants” . there is much symbolism proposing the war between natural versus unnatural that is both external and internal.

In “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” the teenage character illustrates both witting and subconscious Acts of the Apostless of rebellion while populating life in poorness and the shame of whippings from his parents and castigating from the white members of his community. It is really important to look at these parts of the narratives to happen Marxist subjects and manners for thought in a manner that supports Marxist theories.

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It should be noted that Marxism as an political orientation transcends sociological and political kingdom to back up the usage of literature by the multitudes to foster the purposes of Marxist idea. but literary critics use the dogmas of struggle and category to analyse the plants without a motivation for their survey. but alternatively a simple lens of sing societal jobs that are amplified in literature. Some critics. particularly those of the Post-modernism school agree that political orientation has no topographic point in these plants and their unfavorable judgment should be noted.

But the narratives that will be used here will be merely analyzed in footings of category and struggle without any ideological prepossessions while disregarding the misconceptions of critics. It is the latter class I pursue here. though in decision I shall raise the inquiry how far the construct of political orientation can still be productively applied to literature. I concentrate. moreover. on unfavorable judgment within the Marxist tradition. because it is here that the most systematic efforts have been made to believe literature in relation to the construct of political orientation.

Of class. a non-Marxist may inquire slightly similar inquiries of the literary text. without utilizing the construct of political orientation. to those asked by a Marxist critic whose analysis relies on the construct. Furthermore. non even all Marxist critics make usage of the term ( Moriarty. 2006. p 43 ) . Though. Moriarty does do mention to the fact that non all Marxist critics use political orientation in their unfavorable judgments. it may be a common misconception among other critics that political orientation must ever be a portion of reappraisal.

Alternatively struggle. such as the job between the twosome in “Hills Like White Elephants” have nil to make with political orientation and alternatively struggle and advancement and the subjects environing this. In “Hills Like White Elephants” a inquiry by the editor of the anthology incorporating the work is posed. “What sort of declaration does the narrative offer” ( Pickering. 2001. 681 ) ? A Marxist critic would be concerned with this type of reply.

A narrative without a declaration means that the cardinal subject still exists in society and can non be resolved by either the characters of the universe at big. The story’s chief struggle is a pick that the twosome has to do between themselves as to if they will take to hold the adult female undergo an abortion. But. the struggle of the two is non the cardinal subject. it is the cardinal struggle nevertheless. But underlying this is the subject of the contrast between what is manmade and what is natural.

An abortion. evidently. is in the manmade class. doing it important. But. there is no declaration in this narrative and that would go forth a Marxist critic to believe that the issue that can non be resolved is non with the twosome. but with the mechanical nature of life and the flight from the natural province of adult male ( and adult female ) . This analysis can be found in the scenery described by Hemingway. with beautiful natural hills outside of one window and on the other side is a train station. paths. and alleged civilisation.

In maintaining with the thought of the issues environing mechanical production and reproduction ( particularly in literature ) . it should be noted that the earliest Marxist minds did believe that a great trade of good could come from the airing of literature to send on a Marxist motion. Walter Benjamin is on Marxist theoretician. non a literary critic. but his thoughts may hold influenced the discourse of other critics into encompassing Marxist literary unfavorable judgment.

“He believes that no affair how radical one’s ideas. if they were expressed in a conventional. academic authorship manner. they would be necessarily be swallowed up in the modus operandis of businessperson culture” ( Gardner. 2001. 249 ) . This belief meant that the lone hope for works non being swallowed up in the bourgeois civilization was to do composing less academic and more originative and to utilize literary plants to farther Marxist ideals. This. nevertheless. was the root of Marxist ideals aimed to be put in topographic point at least a century ago.

So this new lens of Marxist unfavorable judgment should be separated by political relations and political orientation of more Communist times around the universe to today and the battles that are dateless. “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” provides a dateless expression at adolescent rebellion. rebellion against society. poorness. and category battle. The adolescent believes that in purchasing a gun. he will be free from the restraints that are to a great extent put on him. The indispensable them is rebellion and freedom. which is a extremely Marxist ideal. But. interestingly enough it can be said that there is some closing in this character’s life by him taking to fly his oppressive environment.

However. it is a enigma as to where this Utopian life he seeks will take. doing this an unsolved struggle. Pickering asks in his “Questions for Study” after reading the narrative “does Dave’s determination to mount aboard the cargo train a convincing decision to the story” ( Pickering. 2001. 1447 ) ? It is non. as stated earlier. as the Utopia that Dave seeks is ill-defined and may really good non be. Michael Delahoyde in his category web site reveals that Marxist critics will inquire this inquiries about the narratives they read. All of these inquiries linger in the narratives chosen for analysis.

What function does category drama in the work ; what is the author’s analysis of category dealingss? How do characters get the better of subjugation? In what ways does the work service as propaganda for the position quo ; or does it seek to sabotage it? What does the work say about subjugation ; or are societal struggles ignored or blamed elsewhere? Does the work propose some signifier of Utopian vision as a solution to the jobs encountered in the work? In decision. the narratives chosen here briefly highlight the inquiries that Marxist critics inquire when reading and analysing literature.

There is obvious discourse in other communities of unfavorable judgment and political orientation. political relations. and the purposes of Marxists in heated Communistic times should non be confused with Marxist unfavorable judgments of today. The plants analyzed are viewed in a simple lens. inquiring simple inquiries that affect society and category battle. These narratives al pose interesting ways in which personal battles translate to wider inquiries and the deficiency of declarations require deeper thought as to what those declarations might be. Works Cited:

Michael Delahoyde. Class Website for Introduction to Literature. “Marxist Criticism” . Accessible online: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. wsu. edu/~delahoyd/marxist. crit. hypertext markup language. Last accessed 15. November. 2008. Roberta Gardner. “Walter Benjamin” in Social Theory: Continuity & A ; Confrontation. ( 2000 ) . Toronto. Ontario. Calcium: Broadview Press. 249. Michael Moriarty. “Ideology and Literature” in Journal of Political Ideologies ( February 2006 ) . 11 ( 1 ) . 43. James Pickering. “Questions for Study” in Fiction 100: An Anthology of Short Stories 9th Ed. ( 2001 ) . Upper Saddle River. New jersey: Prentice Hall. 681 & A ; 1447.


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