The objective of this thesis is to explore how American authors represented poverty across different states during the Depression Era. I have chosen to review social reform author John Steinbeck, and proletariat authors, Michael Gold, Meridel Le Sueur, and William Attaway. Before addressing the issues presented in the data collection tools (novels): The Grapes of Wrath, Jews Without Money, The Girl, and Blood on the Forge, I reviewed the fundamentals of the events leading up to the crash of the stock market, which spiraled the United States and the world at large in the greatest Depression ever known. In this thesis, I have also outlined a summary of the novels for the benefit of readers who may not have had the opportunity to read them. I have applied a Marxist literary critical analysis to the preceding novels highlighting three overarching concepts of the theory: economic power, materialism versus spirituality, and class conflict. Evolving from these concepts are the key tenets of Marxism: base, superstructure, hegemony, commodification, class conflict, and false consciousness. In the literary critical analysis, I applied these key tenets to the plot of each novel in order to underscore the ideologies of Marxist theorists with regards to the existence of class divisions and how this division creates class conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariats.
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Olan, Elsie Lindy
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
Dissertations, Academic -- Education; Education -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Austin, Cavel, "The Representation of Poverty in Great Depression American Literature" (2014). HIM 1990-2015. 1653.