A Critical Look at Marxism in Literature

Essay by JillnhidingUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, April 2004

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

Downloaded 106 times

A Critical Look at Marxism

Marxism is a political and economic philosophy originating with one, Karl Marx. Karl Marx was a German philosopher who lived in the nineteenth century. Marx outlined that the capitalist economic system is designed to keep the upper classes (the bourgeoisie) wealthy, while at the same time the lower classes (the proletariat) remain trapped at the bottom of a biased construct. "Marx defined ideology as 'the ruling ideas of the ruling class'" (Rivkin 237). The adversity is compounded because the proletariat is forced to support a system that repeatedly keeps them from improving their situation. Marx believed that the bourgeoisie would eventually be stripped of their political and economic power by the proletariat and all property would be placed in the hands of the government who would equally distribute the wealth of the community. In short, revolt will lead to a restructuring of the system.

I seek to critique Marxism, point out some inconsistencies, and explain why it does not provide accurate insight into modern literature.

Marxism could not exist without Hegel's "Dialectics", "a mode of philosophical analysis that saw the world as operating logically in that it moves from one premise to another"; each idea "determines or gives content and shape to the other. Without one you cannot have the other" (Rivkin 234). Also Marxism is based on a "base" and a "superstructure. The base is the bourgeoisie and the superstructure is everything else. The base feeds the superstructure and holds all the control. "For Marxism, texts belong to a superstructure determined by the economic base (the 'real relations of production'). To interpret cultural products is to relate them back to the base" (Culler 129).

A major problem with Marx is that he believes this revolt of the proletariat would result in...