Rose for emily and odour of chrysanthemums - Marxism Essay Example
According to the Marxist criticism theory, Marxism gives us individuals a meaningful way to understand history and current events - Rose for emily and odour of chrysanthemums introduction. The Marxism theory focuses its attention on that the real forces that create human experiences are the economic systems that structure human societies. This theory centers on the economic realities of human culture so that it may be understood properly. Marxists believe that getting and keeping economic power is the motive behind all social and political activities such as education, philosophy, and religion. Both, “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner and “Odour of Chrysanthemums” by D.H. Lawerence are short stories that can be criticized using a Marxist approach, these stories show how class effects and influences characters decisions while alienating them from all classes. A Marxist approach would reveal that economic status is a primary element in both “A Rose for Emily” and “Odour of Chrysanthemums”. In “A Rose for Emily”, Emily’s class, her subsequent fall from affluence, and Tobe’s depressed socioeconomic status all relate to prosperity and the class system. In the story by William Faulkner, many of Miss Emily’s actions emphasize on Emily’s “class” such as when it is commented in the story that people believed that the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were.
The town degraded her while they were constantly gossiping about her intimate affairs and the men she hasn’t and has been involved with. Many people in town would gossip about how she could belongs to such higher class and not be more aware of the damage and dishonor she’s causing to her dignity by going out on Sunday afternoons with Homer Barron for carriage rides because not only was it a disgrace to her town and people but also a bad example to set for the younger generation. Miss Emily thinks she is too good for the town’s people and throughout the story social class plays a tremendously important role. Emily’s social class represented her actions, decisions, and way of thinking. To the town people, Emily is referred to as “a tradition, a duty, and a care.” Miss Emily utilized her socioeconomically status to her gain stepping all over everyone who she felt was lower than her, when she went to buy arsenic, when the clerk asked why she wanted the arsenic she just stared at the cashier until he gave her what she wanted. As Miss Emily’s financial standing descended, she lost her value and respect with her own class and others. Miss Emily is a very discontent woman because she never finds happiness throughout the story and that was all her father’s fault for scaring the boys away. Emily’s father drove away all the men who showed interest in her because he believed no one belonging to any high status was good enough for her, thus the imprint she instilled in herself about no man being worthy enough for her. Finally, she murders Homer Barron because she thinks she is better than him so he doesn’t have the right or privilege to leave her. Because Homer’s the first man to actually date her, she knew she had to be firm and take what she has been deprived of for so long but once again she denied the formality of the relationship because he’s lower class. By killing Homer she alienated herself from the world in order to live up to her class.
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In the story “Odour of Chrysanthemums” Elizabeth Bates is a strong, educated, respected woman. Her family is part of the working class and her husband is a coal miner. Throughout the story hints are given to show their poor economic status. For example, the clothes of John “were evidently cut down from a man’s clothes” (284). Accordingly, Elizabeth Bates comes across with many rats “with which the place was over-run” in the yard (290) while she begins to seek for her husband. At that point, she goes up to Mr. Rigley to find out whether he knows where her husband is or not, and she steps into his house. Upon seeing the Rigley house, Elizabeth comforts them by saying “Eh, ours is just as bad” (291). However, after sitting, Elizabeth views “twelve shoes” and a “general untidiness of the room” with “a bit of carpet” (291). John’s having “badly fitting old clothes” (291), yard’s being overrun by rats, pathetic and miserable condition of Mr. Rigley’s house along with a huge population can be recounted as symbols of poverty. Elizabeth considers herself to be superior to her husband and the rest of the people in the rural town because she is educated. Elizabeth Bates indicates her disdain for the social position of her community by fighting against her husband and his values.
Probably lulled into marrying him by his good looks and his lust for life, she now resents him for making her feel like a “fool” living in “this dirty hole.” She seems to despise the manual nature of her husband’s work, indicated by her unwillingness to wash the residue of pit-dirt from his body when he emerges from his shift in the mine. Awaiting his return, she angrily says she will force him to sleep on the floor. However, her attitude dramatically shifts when she learns about the accident. She even entertains a fleeting, deluded notion that she may transform her husband morally while nursing him back to health, but her illusions disappear when the dead body of her husband is carried into her home by miners supervised by the pit manager. Viewing the body “lying in the naive dignity of death,” she is appalled and humbled at what appears to be her husband’s new distance from her, but she slowly comprehends that their former connection was based solely on an unnamed attraction above and beyond the conditioning of social class, and the lure of compatible personality, common interest, or shared experience. By the end of the story she comes to value her husband, and by implication, to ignore his class position. And she realizes that the class position made her alienated from her family.
In each of the stories the women alienated themselves so that they could have the economic class they wanted and did not want to let the rest of the town know their real life. Both Elizabeth and Emily judged the people of the town and thought themselves higher than the rest which only alienated them more.