The Neo-Marxist Criticism In James Joyce's Araby

1102 Words5 Pages

In October 1905, James Joyce wrote “Araby” on an unnamed narrator and like his other stories, they are all centered in an epiphany, concerned with forms of failures that result in realizations and disappointments. The importance of the time of this publication is due to the rise of modernist movement, emanating from skepticism and discontent of capitalism, urging writers like Joyce to portray their understanding of the world and human nature. With that being said, Joyce reflects Marxist ideals through the Catholic Church’s supremacy, as well as the characters’ symbolic characterization of the social structure; by the same token, psychoanalysis of the boy’s psychological and physical transition from one place, or state of being, to another is …show more content…

Ideological state apparatus In the words of Louis Althusser and his neo-Marxist notion of “the state”(Connors, 101) exerting power through an authoritarian mechanism, whether it is the media, school or in this case, the superstructure of the Catholic Church, shapes our statures as subjects, from social and culture structures of subjected ideology. In Araby, Joyce immediately pivots the reader’s attention to the protagonists’ freedom from the “Christian Brother’s School”. Not only does this highlight the pervasive power of religion, supporting Althusser’s suggestion of religion as a “repressive state of power” with educational functions (Althusser, 143), but also makes us envisage a lower, middle class neighborhood in which the boy dwells in; evidence of Marx’s culture of a state of dominance and subordination of specific classes. What’s more on the educational apparatus, apparent in capitalist states, of this ideology is that discipline and control taught by the church deeply …show more content…

On one hand, Joyce executes his political beliefs as an anti-English imperialist of the alienated labor force, as we see the boy ultimately buys nothing from the bazaar. This is extrapolated from the material reckoning between the buyer and seller as well as the result of failed capitalism – which Marx viewed as a catastrophe from its incapability to stabilize social and economic qualities by the lower classes. Moreover, the protagonist alienates himself from the normative, religiously induced way of thinking from euphoria for the fantasy created by the bazaar to defeat- reflective of defeated Ireland at the time. On the other hand, Joyce incorporates the boy’s desire to escape from the hegemony of Irish Catholicism. The characters like the protagonist, Mangan’s sister, are tropes of the societal tension between Irish and England, but in this context is suggestive of the incompatibility of capitalism in Joyce’s time. Because Marx believes the worker would “put his [or her] life into the [alien] object” (William, 132) he/she is producing, they are ultimately alienated, unconnected to

Show More

More about The Neo-Marxist Criticism In James Joyce's Araby

Open Document