Working With Marxist Criticism
Write a short, single spaced essay in which you concisely explain the basic premises of Marxist criticism and apply one or more Marxist interpretive strategies to explaining how Chapter X (the "interchapter" on the bullfight and "Cat in the Rain,," pp. 89-94) is constructed or what it means, using terms found in Tyson on pages 54-61 and elsewhere. Email it to me either as an attached MS-Word file (recommended for bad spellers!) or in the body of the email, itself.
To successfully complete the assignment, make sure your essay's two parts answer, in some fashion, the following questions:
Part One: Summarize Tyson's discussion of Marxist theory and critical interpretive methods. Do not merely list the terms of art used by the theory. Illustrate or define them with a phrase so that I can discern how well you understand them. Use literary examples when you can--they will improve your memory of the theory and method. What are the goals motivating the Marxist critic's interpretation of the text? How does the Marxist critic treat the evidence in the work? What constitutes a successful interpretation?
Part Two: What evidence in the short story makes it appropriate for Marxist interpretation? What Marxist principles seem most effectively to explain that evidence? What non-obvious insight does those principles help us to see in the text?
You do not have to develop a completely structured paper in order to finish this assignment. Don't bother with a formal introduction or conclusion, and if it helps, you can use section headers (i.e., "Part One" and "Part Two") to eliminate the need to write paragraph transition. As a matter of good critical practice, you should provide your paper with a proper title based on your application of Marxist theory, and a Works Cited section, but once you have explained how Marxist criticism works and have showed how it might be applied in the case of this text, you are done. You need not explore further the consequences of that application or develop all the available evidence; only the most relevant details need be mentioned.
Note: I have added the "Interchapter" of Chapter X because it may help to establish some thematic relationships with "Cat" which Marxists might find important. I omitted it for the Psychoanalytic "Working With" paper in order to allow you to focus on careful reading of "Cat"'s text. As you read, however, you may find yourself noticing some interesting psychoanalytic relationships that the "interchapter" has with "Cat." Just keep in mind that the Marxist analysis treats the mind as the product of material historical conditions.
Click here for the criteria I will use when evaluating the paper.