Working-Class Representation

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Literature, as a crucial part of culture, functions as the reflection of reality. According to Marx, “the mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life” (Williams 266). Superstructure, as the product of men’s spiritual processes, containing various ideological forms one of which is literature, is not determined by “the consciousness of men”, but by “the social existence” (266). Concerning working-class literature, it follows this rule as well—“the whole class produces and shapes these out of its material foundation and out of the corresponding social conditions” (267). Thus, working-class literature is created upon the contemporary status quo of the class which greatly influences its theme and content. Yet, according to Marxist theory, there is an interaction between culture and social organisation. Warner points out that although culture cannot go beyond social organisation, its continuity is more noticeable partly because “it is easier to envisage possibilities than to put them into practice”; “when a change of social organisation is necessary, culture comes into opposition to the time-honoured standards of society…which have proved inadequate and uninspiring for a further advance into future.” (270) Thus, literature provides working class with an approach to picture their ideal social organisation, express opposite opinions against the unfair treatment inflicted upon them in an ideological form. Concerning the statement that Literature offers working-class people a means of challenging their allocated place in society, even though literature can contribute to influencing reality through reflecting and providing opposition against existing social ... ... middle of paper ... ...rking-class authors have different perspective and style to represent working class, but they both achieve to play the role of opposition against the existing social hierarchy under which working class people are oppressed and ill-treated, to speak for working class’s interest and arouse readers’ concern over contemporary social conditions. Works Cited Gaskell, Elizabeth. Mary Barton. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Print Lloyd, David, and Paul Thomas. Culture and the State. New York: Routledge, 1998. Print. MacGill, Patrick. Children of the Dead End. Horsham: Caliban Books, 1982. Print. Watts, Ruth, “Education, empire and social change in nineteenth century England” Paedagogica Historica 45. 6 (2009): 773–786 Williams, Raymond. Culture and Society 1780-1950. London: Chatto & Windus, 1958. Print. UK Parliament Website. UK Paliament. Web. 8 Nov. 2013
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