The story 'The Sculptor's Funeral' contains many examples of Marxist criticism. This story is set in the small town of Sand City, Kansas. Most of the people in this town are greedy and materialistic. There are very few people who actually understand Harvey Merrick, and nobody else likes him because they can't understand him. They considered him to be a failure because he wasn't overtaken by the need to have more money or more possessions. Even his mother considered him a failure because she didn't understand him.
Harvey Merrick's mother was one who had been taken by greed in the small town. The way she expressed her grief seemed a little insincere and like too much of a performance – especially because she then yelled at the maid for something stupid. His father showed real grief and I think it was because he, unlike others, understood his son on some level. Harvey Merrick went to college in the east with Jim Laird who had also intended to avoid coming back home, but Laird did return and was overcome by the greediness that he had purposely tried to avoid.
Unlike the rest of the townspeople, Laird knows that Harvey was more successful than any of them. People putting Harvey Merrick down for a while before Jim Laird finally yelled at them for being so ignorant and then left before they could come up with a retort. Harvey Merrick's success was seeded in his happiness and contentment with how he chose to live his life. Anybody in the town of Sand City who had found real happiness like that was treated like a second-class person.
They were the people that everyone else talked about because they had the strength to not conform. As Jim Laird pointed out, the way that these people were treated often led them on a path of self-destruction, and the same thing would have happened to Harvey Merrick if he had come back to Sand City.