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Marxist Criticism

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❶The Shock Strategy Section 2. Cambridge University Press,

Charlotte Brontë

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Through experience, a person gains a broader understanding of what life is like. Children may believe that they possess a wealth of knowledge but new lessons, even if valiantly resisted, are absorbed to create a new way of looking at things. Thus, the lesson referred to by the title is not the typical lesson that one would expect; this is not a lesson that can be learned from just any four-walled classroom but this is one that is learned through living.

Moreover, the short story teaches the readers that there are people like the young narrator Sylvia, who do not know, and do not exert an effort to know, what life is like beyond their own communities and social status. These same people are content, thinking that they have the right kind of life. Therefore, they do not strive to better themselves in order to claim equality with people considered to be part of the much wealthier, upper class.

On the other hand, they may just be showing symptoms of a defense mechanism where they try to show that they do not really care if they are poor and downtrodden; they are tough and do not want to see themselves in any other light. Bambara makes use of dialect in order for Sylvia to become a fully realized and realistic narrator. The reader can almost hear the impoverished and black, but confident and often abrasive girl who refuses to listen to anything that Miss Moore teaches her and the other children.

Sylvia may not be fully aware that she and her friends are prejudiced against Miss Moore. This can be compared to some students who are terrified of one subject, for example Math, and actually do terribly in the subject because their fear has frozen them and has made them easily give up.

Sylvia is not the type of girl who gives up but she is the type of girl who questions authority. Miss Moore, with all her lessons, is authority. Thirty-five dollars and the whole household could go visit Grand-daddy Nelson in the country. Thirty-five dollars would pay for the rent and the piano bill too.

Sylvia has actually learned. She is actually thinking despite her outward antagonism. Since Sylvia us the narrator, she cannot help but reveal to the audience what she thinks and feels. Though she may not admit it even to herself, she knows that the lessons are taking effect because she recognizes that they have a generous purpose. However, she continues using the facade of not seeing the point of what deep inside, she is beginning to see the value of. Sylvia is a leader, but she is not strong enough to admit her own weaknesses which the lessons give light to.

As is demonstrated by the way Sylvia interacts with her friend Sugar, the young narrator is used to being in command. Thus, the reality that proves her to be underneath others because she belongs to a social group that struggles with its hand-to-mouth subsistence is difficult to swallow. She recognizes the value of the lesson but she has chosen to walk away. This saddens Miss Moore who recognizes a young girl who has potential as a leader but who uses that inherent ability the wrong way. The girl, on the other hand, feels strange about her new awareness.

Miss Moore is a symbol of the possibility of climbing the social ladder. Because of an education, she has achieved an awareness of the existing imbalance in society.

Though Miss Moore has not gained riches or a higher social class she is still black and poor , she plans to sow into young minds the same awareness.

The resulting socialist form of government and society, although uncertain about the length of time it would take for the new economic standards to create a new culture, believed that such a change was imminent. In the meantime, Socialist Realism was accepted as the highest form of literature, guiding both literary creation and official literary criticism in Russia.

In the years since then, Russian literary theory has modified its extreme socialist stance to acknowledge that literary creation is a result of both subjective inspiration and the objective influence of the writer's surroundings.

He has defined his Marxist theories of literature and criticism in such works as Die Eigenart des Asthetischen , and remains central to the study of Marxist criticism today.

In addition to being the guiding principle behind most literary works in communist and socialist Russia, Marxism also greatly influenced Western writers. Many writers, including Richard Wright, Claude McKay, Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and James Joyce, were deeply influenced with Marxist and socialist theories of the day, and much of this reflection is evident in their writings of the time. In the case of Claude McKay, Marxist theory provided a framework for issues of racial inequality and justice that were often addressed in his works.

Following the failure of the Communist revolution, Marxist critics and writers were faced with the realization that Socialism had failed as a practical ideology. In recent years, literary criticism has expanded in scope to address issues of social and political significance.

Marxist critics such as Raymond Williams and Fredric Jameson have expanded their realm of study to include cultural and political studies in their interpretations of literature.

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Born in Hungary, Lukács joined the Communist Party in and later migrated to Russia. He has defined his Marxist theories of literature and criticism in such works as Die Eigenart des Asthetischen (), and remains central to the study of .

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Based on the socialist and dialectical theories of Karl Marx, Marxist criticism views literary works as reflections of the social institutions out of which they are born. According to Marxists, even literature itself is a social institution and has a specific ideological function, based on the background and ideology of the author.

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Marxist literary criticism is based upon the political and economic theories of the German philosopher Karl Marx. In works like The German Ideology and The Communist Manifesto, written with Frederick Engels, Marx proposes a model of history in which economic and political conditions determine social conditions. Critical Essays A Marxist Approach to the Novel Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List Based on the ideas of Karl Marx, this theoretical approach asks us to consider how a literary work reflects the socioeconomic conditions of .

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Marxist Criticism Essay - Marxist Criticism Introduction Marxist literary criticism is based upon the political and economic theories of the German philosopher Karl Marx. In works like The German Ideology and The Communist Manifesto, written with Frederick Engels, Marx proposes a model of history in which economic and political conditions determine . Marxist Literary Criticism Essay Words 2 Pages While literary critics do attempt to elaborate or develop ideas articulated by Karl Marx, it is important and necessary to make a distinction between Marx's specific socio-economic and political agenda and the body of literary theory which emerged years later.