MARXISM and IDEOLOGIES

Classism: is a belief that our value as human beings is directly related to our social status: the higher

the social class, the higher is our inborn superiority. In traditional classist societies, social class is

determined by birth, “in the blood” and cannot be changed upon the accumulation or loss of wealth.

Marxist theory is against classism considering it unjust and unwise as it privileges a small segment

of the population. * In US, classism exists despite the fact that social class can change upon

accumulation or loss of wealth; those who become the upper-class expect and are treated as if they

were superior to those bellow hem on socio-economic ladder.

Capitalism: is a system where everything, every object, activity, person can be defined in terms of its

worth in money on a specific market.

Capitalist Ideologies: a. Competition- Capitalism believes that competition among individuals, for jobs,

for pay raises, for awards, in educational level, lifestyle, etc. is the best way to promote a strong

society because it ensures that the most intelligent and capable will rise to the top. Marxist Theory

considers competition repressive as competition emphasizes the importance of the individual-“I, I, me,

me, me” instead of the group.

b. Commodification: encourages relating to things and people as commodities with a tag value or

exchanging value. Ex. A girl commodifies a man she is dating if he treats her well and spends on her.

Thus, she is dating him for his exchange value or commodifies him for impressing her friends.

c. American dream: anyone who works hard and is persistent can rise from: “rags to riches” because

America is a land of equal opportunities for all. Marxist Theory claims that our belief in the American

Dream blinds us to the reality that a vast number of people do not have equal opportunity in

education, jobs, housing, etc. And worse, American Dream leads to a belief that poor people who are

unable to improve must be shiftless and lazy.

d. Rugged individualism/ the hero motif: born from the American Dream, this ideology holds up to our

admiration the example of the individual who strikes out alone in pursuit of a goal not easily achieved

or requiring high risk. Marxist Theory claims that it is romanticized in folklore, it is actually putting self-

interest above the needs of the community.

Religion as ideology: Marxist Theory suggests that religion too is to oppress the poor; “it is the opiate

of the masses” keeping the poor quiet and calm from rebelling- they are satisfied with the knowledge

that they will get fair treatment and will be rewarded in heaven.

Colonialist Ideology: is based on colonizer’s belief in their own superiority over the colonized. One

becomes a colonial subjects by mimicry (imitation of the dress, speech, behavior, or lifestyle of

members of dominant culture) and/or by unhomeliness (feeling of having no cultural identity/upon

rejecting their culture as inferior)

Analysis of the short story “Two Kinds” using the terms of Marxism and Ideology-12p

Student:________________________________________

1. Find textual evidence that shows how young Amy and her mother had adopted Capitalist Ideologies.

Choose one type of Capitalist Ideology and state how they ( or one of them) had internalized. (3p)

English 102/103 K. Yegoryan

Theme: Power and Ideology

2

2. Find evidence in the story that supports the existence of Commodification Ideology in their community (3p)

3. Do you think Classism Ideology and/or Marxist’s Religion Ideology exists in the community/ society

Amy lives in? Identify at least one, and explain supporting your answer with the textual evidence. (3p)

4. Do you think Amy or her mom is a Colonial Subject or not? Why? Explain referring to the story. (3p)

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