Analysis Of ' The Dinner ' By Herman Koch Essay

Analysis Of ' The Dinner ' By Herman Koch Essay

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Money—in the form of gold bars or paper faces, currency has been a system used in almost every modern society to regulate exchange and to represent wealth. While it is an effective bureaucratic system, money creates inevitable social divides. In the vein of philosopher and sociologist Karl Marx in his famous work, The Communist Manifesto, the haves and have-nots are in a constant struggle between oppressor and oppressed. The Dinner, a novel by Herman Koch, chronicles a brief encounter between the narrator and main character, Paul, Claire, Serge, and Babette, his wife, brother, and his sister-in-law, respectively. his wife, his brother, Serge, and his sister-in-law, Babette. The four must meet to discuss the fate of their children after they were caught on security footage murdering a homeless woman in and ATM booth. Of special concern is Serge, an upper-class citizen who is the expected winner in the Dutch election for prime minister and is worried that the footage will hurt his chances in the election. While Paul and Serge are closely related, their differential social viewpoints create strain between themselves and their respective classes through separate economic situations, false assumptions, and direct quarrels. In The Dinner, the conflicts between Paul and his family illustrate the struggle between the Proletariat working class the and the upper class, or the Bourgeoisie, and the subsequent misunderstanding from one class to the other.
One of the initial markers of class conflict is differing economic viewpoints which leads to a sense of disconnect. When considering his dining options for the night, Paul identifies with the Proletariat class and says, “We could go back to the café and order a plate of regular-person food…...


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...er viewpoint that he is different and “better” than those around him. After looking at his wife 's dish, Paul says that “the first thing that struck you about Claire 's plate was its vast emptiness… It was as though the empty plate was challenging you to say something about it” (43). His opposition to the setting of the plate is and effort to debase the restaurant. By making the bourgeoisie establishment seem redundant, Paul makes himself feel better and fosters a dissension between bourgeoisie and proletariat. During his stay in France, Paul gives a description of his fellow vacationers: “They didn 't envy their countrymen, who were forced, by financial considerations or other obligations, to stay behind in Holland” (67). In another example of discreditation of the bourgeoisie, Paul exacerbates the pre-existing Marxist notion of struggle Proletariat and Bourgeoisie.

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