Marxist beliefs believes that society landscapes the world by using a completely economic lens. Marxism dictates that society is usually separated into two classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie utilizes ideology to reduce the proletariat mainly by simply manipulating all their perceptions with their free organization. One ideology that the upper class perpetuates on the working school is that of consumerism. Consumerism may be the belief which the quality from the items one particular acquires may improve your worth. While Marxists believe that of all ideologies, consumerism is an unconscious belief that is so deeply entrenched in society that it affects the decisions that every human being makes. This creed creates the idea of commodity fetishism which details how inch[p]eople in a capitalist society therefore begin to deal with commodities as if value inhered in the things themselves, instead of in the amount of actual labor expended to produce the object” (Modules on Marx: Fetishism). By simply reducing your experience to the pursuit of monetary prosperity, the idea of commodification was made. Commodification should go the extra stage of reducing a person’s value to their value. These three concepts together have the capacity to dismantle natural purest ideas such as like. O. Henry’s “The Present of the Magi” displays just how consumerism, commodity fetishism, and commodification can distort all-natural virtues such as self-identity and love.
Jim and Della, the protagonists of “The Gift of the Magi”, base the measure of themselves and their appreciate for each various other on consumerist ideals. Mostly, the narrator sets the scene when he observes, “Now, when [Mr. Wayne Dillingham Young] had been paid just $20 a week, the brand seemed too much time and importantMrs. James Dillingham Young place her biceps and triceps warmly about him and called him ‘Jim'” (Henry 2). The presenter describes in explicit fine detail the magnitude of the couple’s dilapidated living conditions, mentioning the faulty items which clutter the home such as the defective doorbell and miniscule mail box. Consumerism thinks that the quality value of the items one is the owner of is equitable to their school status. The narrator facilitates this thought by showcasing the inappropriateness of James’s name in comparison with his interpersonal standing. “James Dillingham Young” speaks of prestige and affluence, of your legacy of wealth passed on from generation to generation. It is a name designated to him by simply chance plus the narrator asserts that he could be not deserving of it. Associated with based exclusively off of James’s economic position, rather than on his character. This kind of sentiment is solidified further by the reality James’s own wife refers to him as Jim. By consumerist standards “Jim” is a much more fitted name pertaining to the salaryman. Jim is a simple, plain identity, the type of brand deserving to get a man on this low course. Moreover, Della allows this kind of ideology to color her judgment the moment she ponders, “Only $1. 87 to buy a gift intended for JimSomething nearly good enough. Anything almost really worth the honor of belonging to Jim” (2). The story takes wonderful pains to ascertain the traditional, pure like that exists between Adam and Della.
Since strong while that faithfulness is, Della believes that she can simply prove her love through monetary means. She sights “the honor” of Sean as the wealthiest subject that can meet his noble character. This perspective shifts the nutritious nature of love, warping it into a competition of goods. Love existed prior to currency, however Della demonstrates how money has grown to restrict the values of love. Furthermore, the story cements its frame of mind on consumerism when the narrator details, inches[The golden watch chain’s] value was at its abundant and real material. Since it was and so plain and simple, you knew it turned out very important. All good things are like this” (3). It can be ironic the fact that words “plain” and “simple”, usually utilized to describe situations of impoverished citizens, have become used to value an high end object. This is the way the bourgeoisie uses ideology to control the significant classes. Without conscious thought, the upper class celebrates chasteness and frugality in their products while outwardly punishing the bottom classes for the similar traits. This kind of philosophy prospects the indigent to revere austere yet expensive things even though the same value can be found in cheaper alternatives. The power of consumerism is unquestionable as it pushes to Della to drastics measures to get the watch chain.
Asset fetishism pushes the fresh couple unimaginable lengths to validate their very own love. Initially, the narrator illustrates the lovers’ deep reverence of material goods when he expounds, “The James Dillingham Youngs were very pleased with two things that they owned. Something was Jim’s gold watchJim knew that no california king had whatever so valuable” (2-3). The narrator mentions that the enjoy has passed right down to each era in the Dillingham Young family. Yet , this is not what gives the observe value. Platinum or not really, every watch serves similar function. The worth from the object comes from its perceived luxuriousness, as shown simply by its comparing to a own a ruler. But the identified grandeur in the watch can be not enough to meet the few. Therein is situated the danger of commodity fetishism. Because Rick and Della have staked their love for each various other on material items, the attainment of just one glorious asset only begets the desire for more. Consequently, Della exemplifies the impact of product fetishism if the speaker elucidates, “The other thing was Della’s hairDella knew her hair was more beautiful than virtually any queen’s jewels and gifts” (2). Della’s hair is another natural facet of the world provided to her with no consideration of her class status. And yet, her hair is usually reduced to nothing more than a commodity for trade that she need to sell. She laments this herself exclaiming, “‘But what could I do—oh! What could I do with a money and eighty seven cents? ‘” (4). Since she gets tied her love for James to physical things, Della believes she had no other option but for sacrifice a thing as treasured as her own hair. The thought would not occur to her that durability of her affection is actually a admirable present on its own. In her worldview, love contains a ceiling that one can only bypass through prosperity.
Commodification has the ability to perv the image enthusiasts have of one another but can be corrected by a difference in worldview. At first, Della shows her bended view of her husband when the girl contemplates, “Quietness and value—Jim and the cycle both acquired quietness and value. The girl paid twenty-one dollars intended for it” (3). Della casings her notion of her lover in such a manner that this appears like James must be striving to suit the chain’s perfection instead of the other method around. This image of David is additional highlighted by the added details of the gift’s cost. Considering that the connection between object and Della’s sweetheart has already been manufactured, it appears like the story is claiming that James’s well worth also portions to a simple twenty dollars. Rather than demonstrating the depths of Della’s appreciate, her point of view only shows the limited parameters of her enthusiasm. However , the lady begins to break through her deep seated ideologies the moment she proclaims, “‘Maybe the hairs of my head could possibly be counted, ‘ she stated, “but nobody could ever rely my love for you. ‘” (5). Though it was through Della’s own mistake that her affection became commodified, the girl comes to a realization regarding the true mother nature of love. Appreciate is limitless, unlike the economy, its benefit cannot be measured. The narrator affirms this message when he declares, “Eight dollars a week or a , 000, 000 dollars a year—how distinct are they? An individual may give you an answer, nonetheless it will be wrong” (5). The speaker attracts attention to real truth money: that only includes a material well worth. Innate ideals such as take pleasure in have a power that ascends above humanity’s social constructs. It is out there for everyone no matter whether they’re abundant or poor. As the storyplot displays, the very fact that they had been willing to sacrifice their most prized thing for each additional outweighs any kind of object that they can could’ve sold. By beating their ideologies, James’ and Della’s appreciate grows purer and better.
Consumerism, commodity fetishism, commodification pervert organic areas of humanity, since shown in O. Henry’s “The Surprise of the Magi. ” The thoughts and actions from the young couple featured through this tale screen the deep rooted psychological effects of ideology. Left unchecked, ideology can impact one’s outlook on the universe. Jim and Della, an otherwise devoted couple, commodified all their love. Then their photos of each various other diminished with their level of material value. This kind of entire process happened without conscious thought, and they had been only capable of break free of the cycle through the strength of their love. The program as it remains now taints the organic bonds which exist in culture. The bourgeoisie strips away the ties that might inspire the proletariat to rise against their oppressor by exploit their mind. The upper classes convince the working classes that their life should be put in devoted to the pursuit of wealth and that every component of their particular lives work towards that end. Reinterpreting ideas such as appreciate and persona as tools of the overall economy aids in the continuation of the system. Eventually, appreciation with the human nature over your valuation is definitely the first step in curtailing the class disparity which has reigned over our contemporary society for generations.
Felluga, Dino. Modules on Marx: On Fetishism. Introductory Guide to Critical Theory. January 31, 2011. Purdue U. 03 11, 2018 <, http://www. purdue. edu/guidetotheory/marxism/modules/marxfetishism. html>,.
Henry, To. The Present of the Magi and Other Short Stories. Dover, 1992.