Discussing Bresslers definition of Marxism as a literary theory

1491 Words6 Pages
Discussing Bresslers definition of Marxism as a literary theory

Marxism is not the hot topic it once was. With the collapse of Communist U.S.S.R., mainstream North America had thought it had seen the last of Marxism and the communist party. However, with the People's Republic of China becoming a reality, those early beliefs may have proven to be premature.

Defining Marxism is not difficult. Marxism is the belief that the common workingman (the proletariat) is under a rule of tyranny by the upper class owners (the bourgeois.) Someday (according to Marx) the proletariats will rise up, overthrow the bourgeois and create a society of communism. Communism is the political idea in where a society would be controlled mostly by the government. Personal property would not be allowed and therefore eliminate the bourgeois; a utopian society in which every man works for the common good.

Marxists believe that (based on the works of Karl H. Marx) everything we do or think is influenced by the bourgeois. This is simple. Marxism becomes difficult when defining it as a literary theory. The original intentions of Marx were those of social and political revolution. Many of Marx's followers however, were and are scholars. Therefore the transition from a social economic theory to a school of literary criticism was inevitable. Charles Bressler is faced with this seeming difficult task of defining Marxism as a literary school of thought.

Bressler attempts to define and explain Marxism as a school of literary thought by examining past Marxists, the assumptions which one must adopt and the methodology (as he does with every chapter.) He succeeds in some places and fails in others. Bressler's definition of Marxism is as follows, "[the belief] that reality itself can be can be defined and understood, society shapes our consciousness, social and economic conditions directly influence how and what we believe and value, and Marxism details a plan for changing the world from a place of bigotry, hatred and conflict due to class struggle to a classless society where wealth, opportunity, and education are accessible for all people". Bressler does a decent job here. He defines Marxism as it was originally intended: an economic and social view of culture and its influences. He provides a clear, simple definition of Marxism which is easily understandable.

After this however, Bressler's chapter begins to fall apart. He succeeds in giving a brief description of Marxist events and theorists, but fails in his assumptions and methodology.

    More about Discussing Bresslers definition of Marxism as a literary theory

      Open Document