How does Marxist Criticism Work?

Marxist critics explore ways in which the text reveals ideological oppression of a dominant economic class over subordinate classes. In order to do this a Marxist might ask the following questions: Does the text reflect or resist a dominant ideology? Does it do both? Does the main character in a narrative affirm or resist the values of the bourgeoisie? Whose story gets told in the text? Are lower economic groups ignored or devalued? Are values that support the dominant economic group given privilege? This can happen tacitly, in the way in which values are taken to be self-evident. They look at the conditions of production for the work of art. For example, they ask: What were the economic conditions for publication of a work? Who was the audience? What does the text suggest about the values of this audience?

Marxist literary criticism often shares with feminist criticism a desire to challenge the power structures in contemporary society. For feminist, the issue is a marginalized gender; for Marxists, the issue is not gender but economic power, leading to political power. Marxist literary criticism can also be viewed as a type of cultural criticism, in that it seeks to analyze a discourse (of power) that makes up one of the discourses that determine a text's historical meaning.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.