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The Marxist/ Economic Lens And Capitalism

1652 words - 7 pages

The Marxist/ Economic lens serves to promote economic change such as overcoming capitalism and those with the power of wealth as well as incorporating the roles of money, politics, and power in literature. It emphasizes that literary works are a product of the economic and social conditions of either its time or the time the story is set to where it has been utilized most on books and drama where the influences of the time period remain much more prevalent (Brizee). Used to portray ways of how certain forces chose to allocate power between groups, the lens incorporates class conflicts as well as the preference of materialism over spirituality (DiYanni 2173). In Tim O’ Brien’s The Things ...view middle of the document...

Through this patriotic and romantic portrayal of war, young men are encouraged to go to war to fight for their country (even if they disagree) through societal pressures that expect these men to be ready to give up their lives for a cause that is still disputed within the proletariat, the masses. The leaders, a small group, despite protests and petitions, carried on with the war, showing the influence the bourgeoisie has over the rules and regulations compared to the entire body of the American people (DiYanni 2172).
This system of the army with lieutenants and groups of soldiers, establishes ranks, but primarily the numerous badges of honor given to soldiers promote value of material goods. These medals, meant to show achievement and valor, are used for social value portraying commodification, a profound flaw in capitalistic systems according to Marxist critics or Marxism (Polukis).
The badges serve as the prospective results for parents who send their sons off to war with pride in fighting for their country, instead for a controversial and complex war neither the parents nor the sons know what they are signing up for. These badges and medals of honor act as status symbols which earn both respect and admiration, as well as a source of pride keep the masses encouraged to go to war. All of these medals cannot pay for the consequences of the war or the sacrifices these families make, however, and do not serve to raise the power or influence of the proletariat in any way. Instead, agreeing to go to war and siding with the leaders the power of the masses is actually reduced in comparison rather than if they collectively went against it (Britzee).

For all these romantic ideals of fighting against communism and for freedom, these soldiers carry material things that they ‘hump’ during the war. In such an erratic situation, the only confirmable reality for these soldiers is what they can grasp in front of the. Morals, especially in war, tend to be subjective and ideologies brought from home clashed with the mercilessness of wartime can mess up one’s sanity. In other words, the soldiers are held together by these material things that hold individualized sentimental value, whether it’s a pantyhose or a candy bar, that a generalized ideology such as heroism cannot sustain (Polukis). Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried a picture of Martha and a pebble for luck. Through these tangible items he was able to reminisce about past memories and crave for her, even though he only pretended she loved him back (O’Brien 7-8). With the death of a soldier, however, that perception crashed and so did the items he humped for Martha. He was not destroyed by spiritual failure, but rather by material failure (Polukis).
The romanticism boasted overall by the media and government that tries to justify the Vietnam War simply cannot explain the absolute immoralities of war (Brizee). O’Brien highlights this precise question of morality in all the war stories he shares, having a...

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