The Wrapped Golf Ball: A Marxist Literary Criticism

1256 words - 5 pages

The philosopher Karl Marx once said, “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness” (Marx). Marx argues that social circumstances determine one’s value and belief. Therefore, in his short story “Winter Dreams”, F. Scott Fitzgerald supports this Marxist theory by exposing that the proletariat is oppressed by the bourgeoisie’s ideology that the goal of life lies in status and material success, wrongly leading the middle-class to pursue inappropriate goals and ultimately to lose personal identity as developed through vivid imagery, starting with depicting a proletarian’s dream, followed by his success and transformation by a materialist, and ending with his personal deception.
Fitzgerald first demonstrates that ideological oppression by revealing a proletarian’s desire for prestige through admiration for wealthy people. Since a young age, Dexter Green, a “willing” and “intelligent” (Fitzgerald 33) young man of humble origin, often dreams that he becomes golf champion and defeats a respectful opponent, or that he is admired by the most notable figures in the state. In fact, working as a caddy at the prestigious Sherry Island Golf Club has taught him that happiness and respect come with success and status. This idea is even emphasized after he meets the eleven-year-old rich girl Judy Jones, who treats Dexter and her nurse with rudeness and disdain. Furthermore, although Dexter is three years older than her, she calls him “boy” (33). Accordingly, Judy’s socio-economic status has given her a superiority, which irritates Dexter, leading him to quit this job. Under the shock, his willingness and intelligence impel him to become one of the most successful men in the upper Midwest. This self-made success makes Dexter appreciates himself in a sense, but he still wishes his children to be like “the men who when he first went to college had entered from the great prep schools with graceful clothes and the deep tan of healthy summers” (36). Dexter idolizes those wealthy men and does everything possible to resemble rich men. For example, he asks the best tailor in America to make a suit for him. In sum, he becomes addicted to social prestige since he believes that happiness lies in it.
The satisfaction that Dexter feels at becoming socio-economically advantageous leads him to pursue unattainable goals, which transform him into someone that he does no more recognize. To begin with, when Dexter returns to the Sherry Island Golf Club, he tries to “catch a gleam or gesture that would remind him of himself, that would lessen the gap which lay between his present and his past” (34). Although he only makes his first big success at that moment, he already misses the young Dexter who innocently believes that money is the key to every problem. The melancholy of this sentence indicates that he has not yet found happiness in his first success, thus leading him to pursue more...

Find Another Essay On The Wrapped Golf Ball: A Marxist Literary Criticism

Literary Criticism of Wollstonecraft's Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman

645 words - 3 pages Literary Criticism of Wollstonecraft's Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman "Contradictory words seem a little crazy to the logic of reason and inaudible for him who listens with ready-made grids, a code prepared in advance . . . One must listen to her (Maria) in order to hear an "other meaning" which is constantly in the process of weaving itself, the same time ceaselessly embracing words and yet casting them off to avoid becoming fixed

Literary Criticism of Matthew Lewis’ Novel, The Monk

1054 words - 4 pages Literary Criticism of Matthew Lewis’ Novel, The Monk Elliot B. Gose's essay "The Monk," from Imagination Indulged: The Irrational in the Nineteenth-Century Novel, is a psychological survey of Matthew Lewis' novel The Monk. Gose uses Freud's and Jung's psychological theories in his analysis of The Monk's author and characters. To understand Gose's ideas, we must first contextualize his conception of Freud's and Jung's theories. According

Satire and Hypocrisy: Literary Criticism of Lewis’ The Monk

689 words - 3 pages Satire and Hypocrisy: Literary Criticism of Lewis’ The Monk In her essay "Satire in The Monk: Exposure and Reformation", Campbell strives to portray Matthew Lewis' The Monk as a work that is full of and dependent upon satire, yet marks a significant departure from the tradition thereof. Campbell asserts that satire "forcibly exposes an essential quality of an institution, class, etc., which individuals associated with the ridiculed body have

Margit Stange’s Literary Criticism of Chopin’s The Awakening

795 words - 3 pages Margit Stange’s Literary Criticism of Chopin’s The Awakening Margit Stange makes a series of meaningful connections between Kate Chopin’s dramatization of Edna Pontellier’s “awakening” and the historical context of feminist thought which Stange believes influenced the novel. Part of understanding Edna’s motives and Chopin’s thinking are Stange’s well-chosen references to the contemporary ideology that shapes Edna’s thinking and her choices

Marxist Criticism Is Always Concerned with the Class Struggle in History

1496 words - 6 pages was no secret Orwell considered Russia, and consequently Communism, a counter-revolutionary force that would inevitably become corrupted by greed and power. Indeed, perhaps in order to go further in offering a Marxist reading of the text, it is necessary to pass judgement on the author and the epoch in which the book was written. In doing so, I hope to show just how progressive (or anti-progressive) the book is. From almost the very

Dickinson's The Spider holds a Silver Ball

1087 words - 4 pages Dickinson's The Spider holds a Silver Ball Paradox baffles and inspires thinkers because it wipes out the greatest of conclusions, puts us intimately in touch with the very nature of inexplicable feeling, both simultaneously implodes and explodes the mind, and of course induces a certain sensation, as Dickinson puts it, “as if the top of my head were taken off.” It seems to me that in art this is the fix we desire, where sensation

A Marxist Critique of the Occupy Movement

1450 words - 6 pages Journal and The New York Times compare the occupy movement to the Soviet communist uprising. William F. Jasper a writer for The New American, states, “The leading activists openly display their communist, Marxist, socialist, anarchist affiliations and orientations. One would have to be totally blind and totally dishonest not to notice this. The purpose of Mr. Jasper’s article was to show the contrast between the tea party who “paid for permits

The World Economic Crisis: A Marxist Analysis

3354 words - 13 pages , such as the capitalists who control the means of productions. Even thought there is a theory of economic crisis, it was quite unclear because Marx only saw the begging of capitalism development and Marxist perspectives on economic crisis try to evaluate what are the causes and what is wrong with the capitalist system. Marxists analysers on economics crisis have a propensity on what economic crisis act as the challenge the growing

The Great Gatsby: A Marxist Approach

1594 words - 7 pages , Fitzgerald utilizes a Marxist approach to discuss the dangers associated with capitalism. Originally, the discrepancy between the affluent class and the destitute class becomes evident in the contrast between countless cities, primarily East Egg and West Egg. When Nick Carraway relocates to the East coast, he “lived at West Egg, the- less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little

Poe, The Narrator and Literary Criticism in Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”

1146 words - 5 pages Edgar Allen Poe has explored three different themes: His own life, the nameless narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart”, and the literary criticism on “The Tell-Tale Heart.” The Tell-Tale Heart, is a story, although, not revealed, about father-son incest (Kachur). Throughout the story, the old man was the “eye”, or “vulture’s eye” as the narrator calls it. The “eye” is what kept the narrator unnerved, and was the main reason that drove him to kill the

Literary criticism of Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" comparing modern reception with that of the 1800s

568 words - 2 pages in 1969 during the feminist movement where it received reviews that were almost completely opposite to what it had received at the turn of the century. The feminists saw Edna as a role model, the uncommonly independent female voice. What was held as amoral and without literary value in 1899 was considered artistic and noble in 1969. Chopin's novel captures the essence of the struggle for freedom, equality, and independence in which women had

Similar Essays

Marxist Literary Theory And Criticism Essay

1718 words - 7 pages highly and appreciated 19th century literature except for Dostoyevsky and Goncharov. Ironically, as we will see later, those writers lead people by their great masterpieces to believe in Communism and their cause. (Cuddon 493)A prominent figure in Marxist literary criticism history is Georg Lukacs. He is the first major Marxist critic. He believes that literature is not supposed to alienate an already alienated audience, i.e. alienated by

The Physics Of A Golf Ball

1946 words - 8 pages The Physics of a Golf Ball The first written reference of golf was in 1457. Golf balls have had extraordinary changes since that time; they've gone from leather pouches to dried gum to today's dimpled balls. These dimples help decrease the drag and increase the lift. Different forces are applied to the golf ball when struck by the club. Golf clubs have grooves to create backspin. And then there are different variables that affect how a

A Tale Of Three Classes. A Marxist Criticism On 'the Importance Of Being Earnest' By Oscar Wilde

1396 words - 6 pages little power only respect, but in the Victorian period the power was starting to diminish but it still existed. The characters in the play who were of noble birth did indeed know how to use that power.Well when one makes a Marxist criticism it can't be solely based on the story's view of the servants, but however one needs to also look at the way the nobility are viewed. In Oscar Wilde's play he seems to make almost a mockery of the nobility

The Importance Of Distinction In Literary Theory And Criticism

1385 words - 6 pages ‘how’s’ that is so crucial to point out in literary criticism and if it is not made the entire subject becomes unorganized and much less effective. A perfect representative of this disparity can be seen with a comparison of the New Criticism and Marxist theories. A thorough understanding of the differences, similarities, strengths and weaknesses of the two approaches allows anyone studying literary criticism to better fulfill the purpose of the