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Marxist CriticismMarxist Criticism
“The root of all evil is money”
focus on getting and keeping economic power. It is the motive behind all social and political
activities.
-education
-phil...
praxi (methodology) dictates that theoretical ideas can be judged to have value only in terms
of their concrete applicatio...
The American Dream
-blinds the MC and makes them believe that financial success is the product of
initiative and hard work...
false consciousness is a promoted false ideal whose real purpose os to promote the interests
of those in power.
a. how doe...
patriotism is an ideology that keeps poor people fighting wars against poor people from
other countries
i. rich buy out or...
consumerism or “shop-till-you-drop-ism” is the ideology that says I am only as good as what
I buy. It is the cornerstone o...
Marxism: Human Behavior, Commodity, and Family
alienated labor- factory workers become dissociated because they receive no...
imperialism-military, economic, and cultural domination of one nation by another for the
financial benefit of the dominati...
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
“The development of Modern Industry, the...
Questions Marxist Critics Ask About Literary TextsQuestions Marxist Critics Ask About Literary Texts
1. Does the following...
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Marxist Literary Criticism

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Transcript of "Marxist Literary Criticism"

  1. 1. Marxist CriticismMarxist Criticism “The root of all evil is money”
  2. 2. focus on getting and keeping economic power. It is the motive behind all social and political activities. -education -philosophy -religion -government -religion -arts -science -technology -the media economics is the base upon which the super-structure of social/political idealogical Realities are built economic power=social/political power a. class is referred to as socioeconomic material circumstances are the economic conditions historical situation is the s/p ideological atmosphere generated by material conditions
  3. 3. praxi (methodology) dictates that theoretical ideas can be judged to have value only in terms of their concrete applications or their applicability to the real world. Marxists believe that differences in SE divide people in ways that are much more significant than do differences in religion, race, gender, intelligence a. battle lines are drawn between the bourgeoisie (haves) and the proletariat (the have nots/laborers) -ideology (for them) is a by product of cultural conditioning non-repressive ideology makes us constantly aware of how we are materially/economically repressed and subservient to the ruling power system. middle class sides with the wealthy against the poor a. MC resents the poor because MC’s money goes to help them b. but . . .MC fails to realize : i. wealthy decides who pays, how much, and where it goes. They make the MC support the poor because they don’t want to. ii. The poor receive a small portion and the rest goes to kickback’s and into the pockets of the wealthy who control and to the MC employees who administer the services
  4. 4. The American Dream -blinds the MC and makes them believe that financial success is the product of initiative and hard work, therefore, people are poor because they are lazy. a. I want better than what I have now to have better than what other people have is my motivation to “get ahead” -survival of the fittest -individualism -competition -we are born equally and motivation get us the rest -self-made people are heroes (rags to riches) BUT . . .Marxists say The American Dream -is an ideology that supports the SE inequalities a. blinds us it its own failures b. this “dream” rests on the misery of the many i. slavery ii. genocide
  5. 5. false consciousness is a promoted false ideal whose real purpose os to promote the interests of those in power. a. how does the American Dream enlist the support of all Americans, even those who fail to achieve it, in promoting the interests of those in power? -lotteries/sweepstakes i. the less financial security we have, the more we need something to hope for ii. “we are all as good as the wealthy” -ego gratification iii. The rich think, in return, that they deserve their wealth because they had the initiative to achieve the American Dream. classism is an ideology that equates one’s value as a human being with the social class to which one belongs i.e the higher one’s social class, the better one is assumed to be because quality is inborn. a. people at the top are superior to those below in all ways and people are at the bottom because they are lazy and irresponsible, therefore, it is only right and natural that those at the highest should hold all positions of power. i.e divine right, reincarnation
  6. 6. patriotism is an ideology that keeps poor people fighting wars against poor people from other countries i. rich buy out or rake in ii. Makes the poor believe they are members of a nation (collective group) separate from other nations (enemies) iii. Prevents the poor from banding together globally to improve their conditions (displacement of anger) religion is called the “Opiate of the Masses.” It is an ideology that helps to keep the faithful poor satisfied with their lot in life, or at least to tolerate it, therefore, in this sense, religion acts as a tranquilizer. a. focused not on the existence of God, but on what humans do in the name of God. i.e organized religion i. Christian religious groups promote non-violence to the poor ii. persecution of gays, women, Jews, blacks, Muslims, witches are justifies rugged individualism is an ideology that keeps the focus on me instead of on us. It is the cornerstone of the American Dream. a. we make our own decisions and are not influenced by ideologies.
  7. 7. consumerism or “shop-till-you-drop-ism” is the ideology that says I am only as good as what I buy. It is the cornerstone of the American Dream. i. I can be as good as the wealthy if I buy what they buy. ii. on credit, and it makes the manufacture and the credit card companies richer culture is the primary bearer of ideology because it reaches so many people in what seems to be innocent forms: i.e. entertainment toys, movies, video-games, tv shows, books, sporting events a. our guard is down while we are being entertained, therefore, we are more vulnerable to ideological programming (pg 57)
  8. 8. Marxism: Human Behavior, Commodity, and Family alienated labor- factory workers become dissociated because they receive no recognition for their labor. commodity-value is not in use value but exchange value or the sign-exchange value (both pre-determined by society) commodification-relating objects or persons in terms of their economic value or socioeconomic value a. buying art as an investment conspicuous consumption-buying and displaying costly goods and services excessively in order to impress people with wealth “Keeping up with the Jones’” *Capitalism depends on consumerism depends on commodity and all promote SEV -Capitalism's best interests are to promote whatever personal insecurities which will motivate us to buy, buy, buy i. force us to compare ourselves to others ii. competition is promoted by companies who want to sell products and by people who want to sell themselves
  9. 9. imperialism-military, economic, and cultural domination of one nation by another for the financial benefit of the dominating nation with no concern for the welfare of the people being dominated. i.e India, The Congo, The South, Africa, America colonies-imperalist nation establishes communities in an “underdeveloped” country used to extend its economic interests for the “mother country.” Colonize the Consciousness of subordinate people means to convince them to see their situation the way the imperialist nation wants them to see it and to convince them that they are mentally, culturally inferior to their conquerors and their lot will be improved by the new leaders a. stereo-types Family a. not the source of the individual’s psychological identity i. individual and family are the products of material/historical circumstances b. family unconsciously carries out the cultural program in raising its children i. the cultural programming is produced by the SEC within the family
  10. 10. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” “The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the ver foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the vistroy of the proletariat are equally inevitable” -Karl Marx
  11. 11. Questions Marxist Critics Ask About Literary TextsQuestions Marxist Critics Ask About Literary Texts 1. Does the following work reinforce (intentially or not) capitilist, imperilist, or other classist values/agendas? 2. How might the work be seen as a critique of capitilism, imperilism, or classism? What ways does the text reveal and invite us to condemn the oppressive socioeconomic forces? 3. Does the work in some ways support a Marxist agenda but in other ways support a (take your pick of the above)? In other words, is the work ideologically conflicted? 4. How does the literary work reflect (intentially or not) the socioeconomic conditions of the time in which it was written and/or the time in which it is set, and what do those conditions reveal about the history of class struggle? 5. how might the work be seen as a critique of organized religion? How does religion function, in the text, to keep a character or characters from realizing and resisting socioeconomic oppression?
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