In the history of time, there has been many social
theories which give us an insight on how certain society’s work. Most time,
these theories are influential for that time period and then lose status once a
new, more seductive theory is established. Marxism and Sociological criticism
are two good examples of social theories that made a massive impact on the
sociological fields, but have since lost its statues due to the society’s
changing. Even so, Marxism and Sociological criticism have shown up many times
in literature, movies and even in the real world. Sociological criticism was
introduced by Kenneth Burke in the 1900’s. This “explores the relationship
between the artist and society”, which in short form means, literary criticism
directed to understanding literature in its larger social context. This form of
criticism applies sociological theory to the interpretation of literature. For
sociological critics, the social, cultural, economic, and political contexts of
literature are worthy of investigation, shedding light on the content and
ideology of the work of literature and its reception by readers. Sociological
criticism has a social impact that deals with real life situations and gives
you a different point of view of how to perceive society. The main sub-category
for Sociological Criticism is Marxism. Marxism was established by Karl Marx in
the mid-1800s and was later adopted by other theorists, such as Marvin Harris.
Marxism was built upon the idea that there has been an ongoing class struggle
in human history and it is this conflict between classes that will lead to
social change and eventually to the birth of Communism. The Marxist critics
apply Marxist economic and political theory to literature. Marxist theories
tend to focus on the representation of class conflict as well as the
reinforcement of class distinctions as they are presented in a work of
literature. It also tends to focus on creating a world of equal social classes,
in which the upper class and lower class are equally sharing the means of
production and property. Capitalism and its influence on class distinction are
central to Marxist literary theory. Karl Marx is often credited as the father
of Marxist political theory.  His ideas
were significantly influenced by G.W.F. Hegel, politics, economics, and
personal observations of class struggle during his time. Social stratification
was very prominent during Marx’s time due to the Industrial Revolution, which
promoted economic disparity. As a result, Marx attributes monetary
disproportion as the foundation for societal problems.  He treated economics and politics as a
science and wrote his thoughts on them in The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital.
These works highlighted in-depth what he thought was the root of societal
problems and how society would solve these problems in a series of steps. Marx
also declared that the capitalists, or the bourgeoisie, had successfully
enslaved the working class, or the proletariat, through economic policies and
control of the production of goods. Karl Marx was able to create his own
version of the different types of the classes in a society. The Proletariat
(Lower class) and Bourgeoisie (Upper class). The Proletariat is the industrial
and manual working class that produces goods. This class works for wages rather
than a salary. The Bourgeoisie on the other hand are the educated population
associated with money for whom the system is working for. They serve as
controllers of the world’s natural, economic, and human resources. Karl used
the word Hegemony as it shows that the Upper Class is always dominating the
lower class due to economic superiority and this causes, False Consciousness
which means the lower class don’t realize the affect that the upper class has
on them. Marxist literary theory emerged through these theories of politics,
economics, and class struggle in the 1920s. People began acknowledging that
literary creation is the result of both inspiration from the author as well as
their surroundings. This exemplifies a key idea of Marxist literary criticism
which asserts that works of literature are products of history which can be
analyzed by looking at the social and material conditions in which they were
produced.  Although an author determines
how a character develops, it is the socio-economic situation of the author
which determines how the author develops and influences the literature they
produce.