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Marxism as a Critical Theory

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Morgan L

on 6 February 2013

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Transcript of Marxism as a Critical Theory

Marxism as a Critical Theory Examining "The Necklace" Origins Important Figures Marxism began with a German philosopher and economist Karl Marx in the 19th century. Marx's Ideas -Economic Power: The Bourgeois and the Proletariat are always at odds with each other
-Class Conflict: Marx wished the lower class would realize their suppression and rise up in revolution against the Bourgeois.
-Materialism vs. Spirituality: The belief that we are not created by a God, but by the society that surrounds us.
-Ideology: The dominant class creates a belief system in order to stay in power and suppress the lower classes ( capitalism promotes materialism to suppress lower classes) Birth of Marxist Ideas
-Karl Heinrich Marx: first introduced his ideas in "The German Ideology" in 1846.
-Friedrich Engels: met Marx in Paris in 1844, where they collaborated on the "Communist Manifesto" in 1848 and "Capital" in 1867. Birth of the Marxist Critical Theory
-Georg Lukács: considered to be the first important Marxist critic; he invented the idea of reflectionism
The idea that texts reflect the society that has created it.
-Louis Althusser: French-Algerian philosopher who held opposing views from Lukács and believed that literature and the arts can create revolution. He invented the idea of interpellation
The belief that the working class is manipulated to accept the ideologies of the ruling class. Modern Marxist Critics
Fredrich Jameson: uses Freudian ideas in his Marxist criticism
Terry Eagleton: British critic with no set method, but focuses on the relationships between ideology and literary form. He sets himself against the dominance of the upper class. Key Points of Marxist Critics -Analyze what the characters and relationships in a work reveal about the principles of Marxism.
-Emphasis on persons of lower class and how they are affected by dominant classes
For example: A character who tries to rise above is met with even more suppression.
- Relate the work with its social and historical conditions ( within the piece as well as the conditions from which it was created)
- Try to apply the work to today's world, and see if the Marxist aspects still apply What is the economic status of
the characters and what happens
to them as a result? Mr. and Mrs. Loisel: They live at the
low end of the middle class,
they cannot afford to live the
bourgeois lifestyle. Since they fight for a better life, they are oppressed. Mme. Forrestier: She is part of the upper class and portrays the idea of Capitalism. Her cheap necklace however, somewhat invalidates her own status, which through the Marxist's perspective, shows the flaws in a capitalistic society. What other conditions stemming
from their class does the writer
emphasize? Mme. Loisel has inadequate opportunity to obtain the social class that she wishes. Upon taking that one opportunity, she loses all further opportunity for her ideals to come true. M. & Mme. Loisel Mme. Forrestier Lose Necklace Living the ideal "dream" life Work for Necklace Become even poorer
than they were before. Finally pay off debt Tell Mme. Forrestier
the whole story The necklace was fake.
Ten years all for nothing... Buy dress Borrow necklace Go to party! Do the bourgeoisie in the text continually
repress and manipulate the characters? Connections to today: Despite the smaller class gap today, the story still illustrates the drawbacks of capitalism and the infatuation of the lower class with the upper. Work Cited Dobie, Ann. Theory Into Practice. 1st ed. Belmont, California: Wadsworth
Publishing Company, 2001. Print. <http://occonline.occ.cccd.edu/online/swells/Marx Dobie, Ann - Theory Into Practice - Marxist Criticism.pdf>. Green, Gayle. "Feminist And Marxist
Criticism: An Argument For Alliances." Women's Studies 9.1 (1981): 29. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Feb. 2013. Timeline The bourgeoisie affect them indirectly; the need to pursue the bourgeois style of life overpowers the Loisels. It is also unconsciously done by borrowing the necklace which is the cause of their downfall. The necklace is also the direct manifestation of bourgeois ideals, which, when lost, endangers Mme. Loisel's own prospects in their economic rankings.
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