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Who started it?

KARL MARX

He was a 19th century German philosopher that became a part of the Young Hegelians, and later, the
Communist League. Marx is revered as one of the most influential socialist thinkers of the 19th century.
Some of his most notable works are: The German Ideology (1846) • The Communist Manifesto (1848) •
Das Kapital (1867)

FRIEDRICH ENGELS

But we can't have Marx without... Engels was pretty much Marx's best friend. He shared Marx's socialist
beliefs and provided support financially as well as intellectually while Marx developed his theories.

Some of his major works were:

The Condition of the Working Class in England (1844)

Co-authored The Communist Manifesto (1848)

DEFINITION OF TERMS

• Bourgeoisie : the name given by Marx to the owners of the means of productions in a society.

• Ideology : A belief system

• Proletariat : The name given by Marx to the workers in the society.

Capitalism is an economic system that is based on private ownership of the means of production and the
creation of goods or services for profit.

What does it mean to be a Marxist? |

Capitalism is based on private ownership and motivation by profit. Marx criticizes capitalism for its
tendency to abuse the working man, or "the proletariat," by paying a wage that barely guarantees the
workers' survival.

Instead, Marxism utilizes socialism's concept of public ownership.

Marxism theorizes that in order to remove the proletariat from its poor economic situation, a socialist
revolution must occur to remove the unconcerned ruling class from government.

Following the revolution, a new, socialist government is created that subsequently becomes communist
in nature.

What about Marxist literary criticism?

• Marxist Criticism is the belief that literature reflects this class struggle and materialism.
It looks at how literature functions in relation to other aspects of the superstructure, particularly other
articulations of ideology.

Marxist Criticism begs these questions about the work:

1) What is the economic status of the characters?

2) What happens to them as a result of this status?

3) How do they fare against economic and political odds?

4) What other conditions stemming from their class does the writer emphasize?

5) To what extent does the work fail by overlooking the economic, social, and political implications of its
material?

6) In what other ways does economic determinism affect the work?

7) How should the reader's consider this story in today's developed or underdeveloped world?

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF MARXIST CRITICISM

• It promotes the idea that literature should be a tool in the revolutionary struggle.

• It attempts to clarify the relationship of literary work to social reality.

• It is political in nature.

• It aims to arrive at an interpretation of literary text in order to define the political dimensions of
literary work.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF MARXIST

CRITICISM

• It believes that the literary work has ALWAYS a relationship to the society.

• It judges literature by how it represents the main struggles for power going on that time, how it may
influence those struggles.

• It highlights and lauds solution from the critic [if ever s/he could come up with one).

POINTS OF ANALYZING A TEXT USING MARXIST THEORY

1. ECONOMIC POWER

Remember: economic system is the moving force behind human history. Thus, to explain any social
context or genre, understand the historical circumstances.
E.g.: In the story, the society depicted an unequal distribution of goods.

2. MATERIALISM VS. SPIRITUALITY

• Marx averred that reality is material not spiritual. We are not spiritual beings but socially constructed
ones.

• As critics, we are tasked to examine the relationship among socioeconomic groups in order to achieve
insight into ourselves and our society.

3. CLASS CONFLICT

Conflict here principally means the friction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.

4. ART, LITERATURE, AND IDEOLOGIES

According to Marx, the dominant class or higher class do control art, literature, and ideologies.