Analysis of Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy
For decades, Looking Backward has been an influential novel since it focuses on the idea of social reform. The novel’s publication was in 1888 during an era when most Americans were afraid of violence associated with the working class. Another relevant aspect that disgusted a majority of individuals in public was the idea that conspicuous consumption is only for the privileged minorities in the American society. Intense demonstrations commenced following the emergence of labor unions, as well as large trusts that became a central factor in the nation’s economy. Arguably, the author managed to make the novel extraordinarily popular among the middle-class by painting a portrait of Americans who behold the possibilities of a desirable future.
From the ideas shared in the novel, it is evident that the writer defines his ideal society in the form of an antithesis of existing society. The author takes the initiative of informing the American population - using the novel’s romantic medium - on matters concerning individualism, which is notable in an argument by Andrew Carnegie who claims …show more content…
The thoughts and ideology shared by the novelist suggest that the federal government was responsible for the conversion of the nation to an opulent barracks. The theories shared by Bellamy are influential since their validity seems to have been accepted by various non-economists. In a statement made by Bellamy, he claimed, “in the United States there was not, after the beginning of the last quarter of the century, any opportunity whatever for individual enterprise in any important field of industry” (Bellamy 76). Through this statement, Bellamy assessed the future possibilities that surrounded the United
What does the novel say about materialism? What, if any, are the similarities between the 1920s American society and the 21st Century American society with regard to materialism?
American in the 1920’s continuously celebrated and relied on economic prosperity, ignoring the negative aspects of putting all their attention on the present time in the article “Bernard Baruch’s Own Story” by Bernard Baruch, a first notion of an imminent market crash was described as, “To most people it seemed as though prosperity would never end, that everyone would simply go on making and spending more and more money” (Baruch 2). They were pushing their possible doubts outside of their minds to focus on the all-too-obvious positive impacts of the thriving economy. Furthermore, in the article “Firing, Not Hiring” by Nancy Hayes, it states, “People had started buying things such as refrigerators on credit: they didn’t have the money on hand to pay for these goods, but they agreed to make regular future payments.
Andrew Carnegie believes in a system based on principles and responsibility. The system is Individualism and when everyone strives towards the same goals the system is fair and prosperous. Carnegie’s essay is his attempt to show people a way to reach an accommodation between individualism and fairness. This system can only work if everyone knows and participates in his or her responsibilities. I will discuss Carnegie’s thesis, his arguments and the possible results of his goals.
Accurately established by many historians, the capitalists who shaped post-Civil War industrial America were regarded as corrupt “robber barons”. In a society in which there was a severe imbalance in the dynamics of the economy, these selfish individuals viewed this as an opportunity to advance in their financial status. Thus, they acquired fortunes for themselves while purposely overseeing the struggles of the people around them. Presented in Document A, “as liveried carriage appear; so do barefooted children”, proved to be a true description of life during the 19th century. In hopes of rebuilding America, the capitalists’ hunger for wealth only widened the gap between the rich and poor.
Although the gap between rich and poor during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was unquestionably large, the nation was also prospering through large economic gains. Although it may have seemed like a nation in which the rich were detached from the poor, the US was actually harvesting a new breed of self-accomplishing individuals. With the end of free labor, the US had sought a new ideology, and found it in Adam
During the rise of industrialization, the United States had just ended the Civil War and was starting to move on. People had an aspiration at this time to make a more than decent living for themselves, and the economy was at the right spot for this to be possible. This time period in American History is referred to as the Gilded Age, termed by the famous author Mark Twain, which simply means covered in gold; however, Twain did not necessarily mean this in a good way. He believed right under the surface of this gold plating was still problems with the American society that didn’t look so appealing. This essay will discuss how practices during the rise of industrialization during the Gilded Age shaped the American work and labor force.
The industrial revolution introduced many new technology and improved our economic system. There have been a large increase in manufacture and machine tools since then. This led to better transportation, steam powered factories, consumer goods, a large workforce, and labour conditions. During the 1870’s , many financial issues had arise in the United States of America and in many European countries. Due to the financial crises that arise , it led to a major depressing era in history that is called the Panic of 1873. In “Standing at Armageddon” written by Nell Irvin Painter, the author discusses the progressive era and the United States economic crisis , as well as, social status during the ninetheeth century. Painter explains on how the high class white people owned most of the United States industry and due to their wealth, they owned fifty-one percent of the properties in America. They were the wealthiest one percent of the United States. There were different layers of wealth and social status which also integrates with race and ethnicity. Those who were wealthy in America weren’t the ones working hard and getting their hands dirty. Many low class were immigrants, women and blacks who worked in factories and were receiving low wages and poor work conditions. The low class owned only 1.2 percent of the properties in America. This caused major issues in the united states because the workers formed
The book Looking Backward was written by Edward Bellamy and published in the year 1888. Bellamy started off his career as a journalist but then married and decided to devote his efforts to writing fiction novels. Looking Backward was published and Bellamy was famous. The book stirred around the country and had people imagining a world like the one Bellamy created in his book. The idea of a utopia as the one he describes is unbelievable. His book is what people, of even now in the twenty first century, wish the world could possible be like. However, Bellamy's world of reasoning and judging of people based on the inner beliefs was not what people of then or now do. Bellamy's book showed a world of rationality being
History is interpreted in different ways. In Howard Zinn’s “People’s history of the Unites States”, his views of the Government playing into the hands of the wealthy is one that shows the truth of how life was really like during the turn of the 19th century. At the end of the Reconstruction, the country took the next step in the industrial ladder. At this time, many fortunes are made with the help of the immigrants and the corruption of the government. People like J.P. Morgan sold defective guns during the Civil War and with the help of the government, a “federal judge upheld the deal as the fulfillment of a valid legal contract (Zinn 255)”. The railroad became a big staple in the American country was only possible with the “blood, sweat, politics and thievery (Zinn 254)”, as the wealthy few, contracted cheap labor and gave bribes in Washington to get the land they needed to further expend the railroad. The government an establishment for the people, ignored the suffrage of the poor and stood there as the country began to monopolize under the grasp of the few elites. In the other end “A History of the American People” by Paul Johnson depicts the acts of the Gilded Age as a fundamental foothold in the United States. For Johnson, the rapid growth of the country is thanks to the few who rose from the rest, to establish the core of the economy. The government was a key player in the involvement of the railroad and in Johnson’s argument he says “The railroads were subsidized and legally privileged (Johnson 533)”. He explains the vast help of the government, toward the wealthy as a crucial step in accomplishing the impossible. In addition the article “What Social Classes Owe to Each Other (1883)” by William Graham Sumner argues that the few who managed to break through the barrier of the lower class was not with the help of others or the government, but by their own efforts and cleverness that got them to
The plot structure not only forces people to reevaluate their views on capitalism, the American Dream, and opportunity itself, but furthermore advocates social change. The book implicitly suggests communist ideals through the characters of Tom and Casey. Casey, in his questioning of Christian dogma, begins to reevaluate equality, in the terminology of what is holy.
People have always wondered what the future will be like. Certainly Edward Bellamy did when he wrote the novel, Looking Backward (1888). Bellamy uses a man named Mr. West as the main character in this novel. He opens by telling who he is and what his social standing is. West is a young man, around the age of 30, and is fairly wealthy. At the beginning, he tells us about his fiancé, Edith, and the house he is having trouble building for her. The trouble comes from the fact that the workers keep going on strike due to financial reasons, which prolongs the completion of the house. The biggest hint to the end of the novel comes from when he tells the reader that he suffers from insomnia. West must be put
In Bellamy`s Looking Backward, Julian West falls into a hypnosis induced sleep for one-hundred and thirteen years. He wakes up in the twentieth century in the same place but a completely different century. In this essay I will analyze some of the literary genre discourses Bellamy uses in chapters nineteen through twenty-four. Bellamy discusses how crime was considered an illness and that the people that committed a crime needed medical attention.
The new society is a result from advances in large-scale production. There is a system of publicly-owned capital with the government controlling the nation’s total production and distributing the national output equally among all citizens. The nineteenth century system of monopolistic capitalism had evolved and merged into government-owned. Large companies had formed monopolies that eventually became nationalized. Over generations, businesses had merged into huge combinations and evolved into the placement of all capital in the hands of the government. He states that “the existence of capitalistic monopolies was a necessary transitional stage that preceded a society of a totally nationalized economy.” Bellamy thus viewed industrialization and giant conglomerates as potential benefactors, rather than as enemies, of mankind because they are working toward a centralized production and distribution of
With the many famous and major parts taken during this movement and era that include, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar A. Poe, and Ralph Waldo Emerson demonstrate what’s the realism behind society. They go through what’s it like to be as an individual and the importance of that with nature. Without these two movements the characteristics of literature and the truth of individualism would be very different than it