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The Experience of Economic Inequality in Social Classes

April Mae R. Densing


English 47 BB

Inequality between social classes has become a pressing issue globally, and
as time prosper a lot of people regardless of age, gender identity, skin color have
been judged, mistreated, and discriminated because of the class where they
belong. Society had become materialistic, a society made up those who have, and
those who have not. Marxist criticism contends that literature either supports
society’s capitalistic structure or provides social criticism in order to change the
hierarchy of social classes. In the book entitled The Communist Manifesto, Marx
argues that society is composed of two main classes: Capitalists and the Workers.
Capitalists are the rich people, the oppressor, and the upper class in the society
who owns the means of production. Workers on the other hand are the poor people,
the oppressed and the lower class who works for the rich in order to survive. The
poem “Child” represents the interaction between those who have and those who
have not, it depicts economic inequalities between the father and the child; the
oppressor and the oppressed, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the
powerless, the capitalist and the worker.

“His fingers tap the car window”, Cruz started the poem with a provocation
which gives a clear picture of how a society that has unequally distributed its goods
or even the means to achieve them. Tapping the car window means two ways,
either shamelessly selling sampaguitas or shamelessly asking for help. However, it
was interpreted by the father both ways, wherein he felt he should distance himself
for he is superior and that the child who has nothing is inferior. It supports the
argument that workers are nothing but slaves, thus, have no right to gain profits
from their master because in ancient and mediaeval society the landed and wealthy
had oppressed the slaves and the poorest plebeians and laborers. Marx argued that
the capitalist mercilessly exploited the workers. He recognized that the work carried
out by the workers created great wealth for the capitalist (Marx 10). At every stage
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it had negative consequences because it was a flawed system that involved


maintaining the power of a few by the repression of many.

Tragically, as the lines says, “We are both left empty-handed, the child and
I”, the child finds himself with nothing to receive from the father. Eventually, those
who are poor will become poorer while those who are rich will become richer.
Conversely, there is an adverse result to the worker- the child when the father
forced his own child to roll up the window and stopping his child to buy from the
other child. This powerful and heartrending line stands out because it bluntly
reflects the way materialism strips away the humanity of the working class. The line
is the manifestation of how both classes struggled to have mutual respect towards
another. When Karl Marx first penned his shaping works on communism, he
assumed that the relationship between workers and capital would always be
opposing. The original famously declared: “The history of all hitherto existing
society is the history of class struggles.” For Marx and Engels, in a capitalist system
a sequence of widening splits between the classes was inevitable (Marx 14). The
rich would become powerful as market expanded and the poor would become
powerless as the economy is growing.

Painstakingly, as the father is the depiction of a capitalist, who has power


and authority over the working class. The fact that he summoned his child as stated
in the lines, “He orders me to roll up, the car window, and I blend, like a ghost with
the silence, as the scent of sampaguitas fades”, as evidence that he has the highest
power. The lower class has been treated as ghost by the higher class that whatever
or whenever they utter or command, the former should just take it silently with no
choice. As with the manias, panics, and crashes of history, the dislocations arising
from the financial crisis created new opportunities for the Haves to benefit from
seizing the political response (Marx 24). This prolongs the struggle experienced by
the workers as the authoritarian behavior of the higher class continues to dominate
up until the 21st century.

Overall, the poem highlighted a global issue which is now more prevalent. It
emphasizes the social class and how they struggle in order to survive in the society
full of inequality and undignified behavior of humanity. It is a sharp lesson to
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materialistic societies of the rank evils of social systems that base their economy on
an undervalued working class. By taking the reader from the wealthy who run the
system to the poor who are most affected by the system, it is a very significant
reminder and endorsement of classless societies in which everyone has equal
access to power and goods or criticism of repressive societies in which that is not
the case. It is a calling that needs to be heard of, that new classless society would
emerge based on the idea: 'from each according to his abilities, to each according
to his needs'. In such a society, land, industry, labor and wealth would be shared
between all people. All people would have the right to an education, and class
structures would disappear. Harmony would reign, and the state would simply
'wither away'.