Please also respond to a minimum of two of your classmates’ initial posts and bring together pieces of the discussion and take those ideas further. These responses should be at least 150 words.
Student # 1
Part I: Compose a paragraph that applies a Marxist reading to any of the stories from this week. Be sure to ask yourself ( and answer) the kinds of questions discussed in this week’s lecture.
The Marxist view relies heavily upon the interaction of numerous different criteria. Factors such as class, socioeconomic standing, and institutions are a large part of the dissection of literature. This week we read the story “Paul’s Case”. In this story the young man finds himself unable to fit in anywhere he goes. Whether at work, school, or at home, he fails to find a comfort zone to call his own. From the very beginning it could be viewed that the academic institution was failing Paul. The story begins with him being suspended from school and the school essentially giving up on him. If the institution had perhaps taken more of an interest and noticed the indicators then perhaps he would have performed better.
Part Two: Which of the characters this week did you feel the most sympathy for? Who did you most identify with? Why? Who did you feel the least sympathy for? Why?
I feel the most sympathy for Paul as we have all felt like this at some point in our life. I identify with him, much like many of us do, when it seems as though we are struggling to find our place in the world.
Part Three: In “The Open Boat,” lines of philosophy about man’s fate and his reward for trying hard are repeated throughout. Quote a line of this story that stands out to you as expressing something philosophical about life. Do you agree with the statement? Why or why not?
“Until now he could not remember the time when he had not been dreading something. Even when he was a little boy it was always there—behind him, or before, or on either side”. This statement simply shows that there is always something to worry about. Most of us think about the past and the future, but rarely do we live in the present.
Student # 2
In this week’s lesson, we learned about the Marxist Criticism. Simply put, Marxist Criticism is thinking about text as you read it with emphasis on social, economic and political theories (CITE). One of the readings this week, “Paul’s Case.” is a short story about someone who is struggling with the idea of the economic class. In the beginning of the story, Paul is described as someone who is facing punishment for not behaving in his high school. The author details his clothes as outgrown and paints the picture to be dirty and not clean. Paul seems troubled and it appears that his peers and teachers do not understand him. After seeking a different change in economic class, chasing things that he thought would satisfy him, he began to have suicidal thoughts. In the end, Paul’s troubled thoughts led him to kill himself. As a train was approaching, he decided to jump in front of it. It was then Paul took his own life.
Even though I mentioned Paul in part one, I must say that I feel bad for him. In today’s world it is easy to just write people off as different. I have seen it in school, the military and even civilian life. As society, we tend to point fingers and say that we try to understand people. In reality, I feel that most of the “Pauls” of this world are treated unfairly. Paul sought to find happiness in other things that he thought would fill the void he had. This reminds me of many people who are trying to find happiness in material or social items. For some, this may be in the form of clothes, electronics or other material items. Studies have shown that these things never quite fill the void we were hoping for.
“None of them knew the color of the sky.”
I chose this quote because it is simple, yet effective. In the story, the men on the boat are exhausted and looking for shore. The men’s hope to find the land is dwindling. I like this quote because it can apply in many different ways. I think of this quote mainly in the life we live when we are all busy. When we cannot see the shore and we forget to look up. Sometimes, we are extremely engrained in what we are doing and do not remember to live in the moment.