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marxist approach to literature

Marxist criticism views literary works as reflections of the social institutions from which they originate. 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. Introduction Twentieth century literary criticism has been influenced by Marxist ideologies. To Marxism, literature belongs to the superstructure which is a product of the base realities. Marxist approach relates literary text to the society, to the history and cultural and political systems in which it is created. 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 the time in which it was written.


What is a Marxist approach to literature? - Quora


Based on the ideas of Karl Marx, this theoretical approach asks us to consider how a literary work reflects the socioeconomic marxist approach to literature of the time in which it was written.

What does the text tell us about contemporary social classes and how does it reflect classism? Jane Eyre depicts the strict, hierarchical class system in England that required everyone to maintain carefully circumscribed class positions. Primarily through the character of Jane, it also accents the cracks in this system, the places where class differences were melding in Victorian England. Marxist approach to literature example, the novel questions the role of the governess: Should marxist approach to literature be considered upper marxist approach to literature, based on her superior education, or lower class, because of her servant-status within the family?

What happens when relationships develop between people of different classes, such as Rochester and Jane? Jane's ambiguous class status becomes evident from the novel's opening chapter. A poor orphan living with relatives, Jane feels alienated from the rest of the Reed family. John Reed tells Jane she has "no business to take our books; you are a dependent.

Jane's marxist approach to literature of money leaves her dependent upon the Reeds for sustenance. She appears to exist in a no-man's land between the upper- and servant classes. By calling her cousin John a "murderer," "slave-driver," and "Roman emperor," Jane emphasizes her recognition of the corruption inherent in the ruling classes.

As she's dragged away to the red-room following her fight with John Reed, Jane resists her captors like a "rebel slave," emphasizing the oppression she suffers because of her class status, marxist approach to literature. Is John really her "master"; is she his servant?

Emphasizing the corruption, even despotism of the upper classes, Jane's narrative makes her audience aware that the middle classes were becoming the repositories of both moral and intellectual superiority. Jane's experiences at Thornfield reinforce this message, marxist approach to literature.

When Jane first arrives, she is happy to learn that Mrs. Fairfax is a housekeeper, and not Jane's employer, because this means they're both dependents and can, therefore, interact as equals. Fairfax discusses the difference between herself, as an upper-servant, and the other servants in the house; for example, she says Leah and John are "only servants, and one can't converse with them on terms of equality; one must keep them at due distance for fear of losing one's authority.

Fairfax: neither a member of the family nor a member of the serving classes. The ambiguity of the governess is especially pronounced, as we see with the example of Diana and Mary Rivers: the well-educated daughters of upper-class parents who've fallen on hard financial times, marxist approach to literature, the Rivers are better educated than their employers, though treated with as little respect as the family cook.

Victorian society brutally maintained the boundaries between governesses and the upper-class families, practically prohibiting marriages between the two groups and attempting to desexualize governesses, who were often accused of bringing a dangerous sexuality into the family.

Blanche, for example, marxist approach to literature, calls governesses "incubi," and Lady Ingram believes that liaisons should never be allowed between governesses and tutors, because such relationships would introduce a moral infection into the household. The relationship between Jane and Rochester also emphasizes class issues, marxist approach to literature.

In a conversation preceding their betrothal, Rochester treats Jane like a good servant: Because she's been a "dependent" who has done "her duty," he, as her employer, wants to offer her assistance in finding a new job. Jane confirms her secondary status by referring to Rochester as "master," and believing "wealth, caste, custom," separate her from him. She fears he will treat her like an "automaton" because she is "poor, obscure, plain and little," mistakenly believing the lower classes to be heartless and soulless.

Claiming the aristocratic privilege of creating his own rules, Rochester redefines Jane's class status, by defining her as his "equal" and "likeness. Before she can become Rochester's wife, Jane must prove her acceptability based on class. Does she have an upper-class sensibility, despite her inferior position at Thornfield? For example, when Bessie sees Jane at Lowood, she is impressed because Jane has become "quite a lady"; in fact, her accomplishments surpass that of her cousins, yet they are still considered her social superiors based solely on wealth.

The conversation emphasizes the ambiguities of Jane's family's class status and of the class system in general: Should a lady be judged based on academic accomplishments, money, marxist approach to literature family name? The novel critiques the behavior of most of the upper-class characters Jane meets: Blanche Ingram is haughty and superficial, John Reed is debauched, and Eliza Reed is inhumanely cold.

Rochester is a primary example of upper-class debauchery, with his series of mistresses and his attempt to make Jane a member of the harem. In her final view of Thornfield, after Bertha has burned it down, Jane emphasizes the stark contrast between her comforting, flowering, breathtaking dream of Thornfield, and the reality of its trodden and wasted grounds.

The discrepancy emphasizes that the world's vision of the upper classes doesn't always capture the hidden passions that boil under the veneer of genteel tranquility. One of Jane's tasks in the novel is to revitalize the upper classes, which have become mired in debauchery and haughtiness. Just as Rochester sought Marxist approach to literature for her freshness and purity, the novel suggests that the upper classes in general need the pure moral values and stringent work ethic of the middle classes.

At novel's end, Rochester recognizes the error in his lifestyle, and his excessive passions have been quenched; he is reborn as a proper, mild-mannered husband, happily dependent on his wife's moral and intellectual guidance. Next A Jungian Approach to the Novel.

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Marxism and Literary Theory | Literary Theory and Criticism

 

marxist approach to literature

 

Marxist criticism views literary works as reflections of the social institutions from which they originate. 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. In other words, it studies the Marxist approach to literature. Keywords: Literary criticism, Formalism, Marxism Introduction Twentieth century literary criticism has been influenced by Marxist ideologies. To Marxism, literature belongs to the superstructure which is a product of the base realities. In a Nutshell At Marx U, you don't pick your class—your class picks you. Meet Karl, venerable founder of Marx U. He's a big, bearded, 19th-century bourgeois, and he spent much of his adulthood in the British Library. Imagine his portrait on the w.