A Marxist Reading of Native Son Essay

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A Marxist Reading of Native Son

In the Communist Manifesto Karl Marx states clearly that history is a series of class struggles over the means of production. Whoever controls the means of production also controls society and is able to force their set of ideas and beliefs onto the lower class. The present dominant class ideology is, as it has been since the writing of the United States Constitution, the ideology of the upper-class, Anglo-Saxon male. Obviously, when the framers spoke of equality for all, they meant for all land-owning white men. The words of the Declaration of Independence, also written by upper-class, Anglo-American males, are clear: "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are rights necessary to each human
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The need for love and belonging is third and manifests in the drive to establish affectionate relationships or create a sense of community. Fourth in the hierarchy are the esteem needs, which Maslow divides into two parts: the need for the respect of others, and the need for self-respect (Boeree). The fifth and final stage in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs forms the pinnacle and is identified as self-actualization or "the desire for self-fulfillment . . . to become everything one is capable of becoming" (Green). According to Maslow's theoy, the order in which these needs appear in the hierarchy is the order in which humans must attain them. Needs higher in the hierarchy cannot be attained without first satisfying the more basic needs at the base (Boeree). When any level of these needs is not met, a deficit need is created, causing negative effects on the human psychology, a phenomenon seen in the main character of Native Son, Bigger Thomas. Maslow believes that in a "good" society each individual is free to accomplish his or her goals and move freely through the hierarchy (Boeree). But for a poor black man, like Bigger Thomas, who lives in a society where the dominant class ideology and the social structure hinder rather than support attaining self-actualization, it is almost impossible to reach the pinnacle of the hierarchy. The dominant class ideology has caged Bigger politically, economically, racially, and

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