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Literary Criticism: Social Class/Marxist

Colleen, James, Kathy, and Sierra
by

Colleen Boucher

on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of Literary Criticism: Social Class/Marxist

- What role does social class play in a piece of literature?

- How do the characters overcome oppression?

- In what ways does the literature serve as propaganda for the status quo; or does it attempt to undermine it?

- What does the work say about oppression?

- Are the social conflicts ignored or blamed elsewhere?

- Does the work propose a form of utopian vision as a solution to the problems encountered in the work? What is the Social Class/Marxist Literary Criticism? - Difference between dominant and repressed classes

- Reflects class struggle and materialism

- Literature reflects an author's own class and/or views on class

- Tends to look for tensions and contradictions within a society Social Class/Marxist By Colleen, James, Kathy and Sierra Examples in A Tale of Two Cities Continued The Lower Class The Hunger Games: By Suzanne Collins Using the Critic A Tale of Two Cities Literary Criticism Explanation Literary Criticism Analyzing a Piece of Literature What to look for Examples in A Tale of Two Cities Examples “Yes. It took four men, all four ablaze with gorgeous decoration… to conduct the happy chocolate to Monseigneur’s lips” (Book 2, Chapter 7, pg. 94-95) “Monseigneur had one truly noble idea of general public business, which was, to let everything go on in its own way… Monseigneur had the other truly noble idea, that the world was made for them.” (Book 2, Chapter 7, pg. 95)
‘“It is extraordinary to me,” said he, “that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is forever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done my horses?” (Book 2, Chapter 7, pg. 101)
“The water of the fountain ran, the swift river ran, the day ran into the evening, so much life in the city ran into death according to rule, time and tide waited for no man, the rats were sleeping close together in their dark holes again, the Fancy ball was lighted up at supper, all things ran their course.” (Book 2, Chapter 7, pg. 102) The Upper Class “A large cask of wine had been dropped and broken, in the sheet… All the people within reach had suspended their business, or their idleness, to run to the spot and drink the wine… Some men kneeled down, made scoops of their two hands joined, and sipped, or tried to help women, who bent over their shoulders, to sip, before the win had all run out between their fingers. Others, men and women, dipped in the puddles with little mugs of mutilated earthenware, or even with handkerchiefs from women’s heads, which were squeezed dry into infants’ mouths.” (Book 1, Chapter 5, pg. 24-25) “Samples of a people had undergone a terrible grinding and regrinding in the mill, and certainty not in the fabulous mill which ground old people young, shivered at every corner passed in and out at every doorway, looked from every window, fluttered in every vestige of a garment that wind shook. The mill which had worked them down, was the mill that grinds young people old… (Book 1, Chapter 5, pg. 26) Result of Corrupted Power “The grindstone had a double handle, and, turning at it madly were two men, whose faces, as their long hair flapped back when the whirlings of the grindstone brought faces up, were more horrible and cruel than the visages of the wildest savages in their most stuck upon the, and their hideous countenances were all bloody and sweaty, and all awry with howling, and all staring and glaring with beastly excitement and want of sleep.” (Book 3, Chapter 2, pg. 244) “There was a character about Madame Defarge, from which one might have predicated that she did not often make mistakes against herself in any of the reckonings over which she presided.” (Book 1, Chapter 5, pg. 28) “The shadow attendant on Madame Defarge and her party seemed to fall so threatening and dark on the child, that her mother instinctively kneeled on the ground beside her and held her to her breast.” (Book 3, Chapter 3, pg. 249) - Social Class division between the Capitol and the twelve districts
- Capitol has the districts at their mercy, due to their attempts at revolution in the past.
- Inspiration from Reality t.v. game show & footage of Iraq War
- Greek & Roman Mythology
- Loss of father figure “Just as the town clock strikes two, the mayor steps up to the podium and begins to read. It’s the same story every year. He tells of the history of Panem, the country that rose up out of the ashes of a place that was once called North America. He lists the disasters, the droughts, the storms, the fires, the encroaching seas that swallowed up so much of the land, the brutal war for what little sustenance remained. The result was Panem, a shining Capitol ringed by thirteen districts, which brought peace and prosperity to its citizens. Then came the Dark Days, the uprising of the districts against the Capitol. Twelve were defeated, the thirteenth obliterated. The Treaty of Treason gave us the new laws to guarantee peace and, as our yearly reminder that the Dark Days must never be repeated, it gave us the Hunger Games.

The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts much provide one girl and one boy, called tributes to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins. Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch - this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. ‘Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger we will destroy every last one of you. Just like we did in District thirteen

To make is humiliating as well as torturous, the Capitol requires us to treat the Hunger Games as a festivity, a sporting event pitting every district against the others. The last tribute alive receives a life of ease back home, and their district will be showered with prizes, largely consisting of food. All year, the Capitol will show the winning districts gifts of grain and oil even delicates like sugar while the rest of us battle starvation.” (Collins p.18-19) Movie Clip Have YOU been paying attention? Thank you for your attention and participation! Have a great day!
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