Thursday, January 17, 2008

Twain vs. Marx

In Twain's book A CONNECTICUT YANKEE AT KING ARTHUR'S COURT and Marx quote they both refer to the machines. They both talked of these machines in different respect. Twain

expresses the machine in term of Men while Marx approaches the idea form and industrial perspective.

Twain’s novel expresses the classification and social injustices that existed within King Arthur’s courts. The king was the factory, and the slaves his workers. They did work for menial pay while they were stripped of their basic living amenities. “…you soon saw that brains were not needed in a society like that and indeed would have marred it, hindered it, spoiled its symmetry -perhaps rendered its existence impossible.” (Twain 22) This quote explains the oppression the people had to endure. It also conveys the fact that the masters were aware of the dangers enlightenment of the slaves posses to their existence.

The Yankee was the key to civilization after his near death escape. He hoped to use his brilliance to improve humanity. He felt civilization was the way to close the ever widening gap of social inequality. However, he also realizes the obstacles he faces with the church and the king in achieving this goal. He believed that if he could break down the iron grips of theses institutions he can free the people, and possibly improve their lives.

In understanding the relationship between Marx’s quote and Twains' book it is necessary to examine the fundamentals of Marx’s theory. He believed that men with some day be replace by machines, becoming appendages that pick up their slack.

Marx’s believes that industrialization is an entrapment that looms over humans through civilization. “One basis of Marxism and Communism is the idea, as detailed above, that industrial workers under capitalism become little more than cogs in the machine themselves.” Marx explains that the growing industrialization with eventually replace men. This will in turn create a class; the bourgeoisie and the proletariat which will eventually eliminate the middle class.

Twain poses a possible solution to the problem of machine vs. men in his book, in this context the machine being the institutions and men the slaves, with civilization. However, Marx will argue that he was replacing a machine with another- factory (industry) machine. I strong believe that although industrialization may come with a price, but if handle appropriately it not as costly to man.

Twain, Mark. A CONNECTICUT YANKEE AT KING ARTHUR'S COURT. London: Penguin Books, 1971.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

This is reminiscent in some ways of Courtney's post - you're highlighting both the differences between Marx's language and Twain's and the fact that there are still good reasons we might bring them together.

Rather than asserting that the Yankee _was_ the key to civilization, you might step back a little bit: he portrays himself that way, but there are a number of reasons why we might not trust him 100%.

For much of the middle of the post, I'm rather confused - you seem to be going in circles, restating things you'd said before (the muddled explanation of Marxism doesn't help). Then at the end, you're advancing a radically different idea: you claim that Twain has a solution to Marx's problem, a solution which you endorse.

Like a couple other people before you, you come to an engaging and relevant argument at the _end_ of the post. It's ok, but imagine what you could have done if you'd begun (even starting over, if necessary) with an engaging, gripping idea, instead of producing it and then stopping.

Your end, in other words, is a nice beginning.