At The Auction Of The Ruby Slippers Analysis

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Salman Rushdie’s short story, “At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers”, follows an unnamed narrator as he attempts to bid for a pair of red shoes from the classic film, The Wizard of Oz. The reader experiences the narrator’s internal commentary about the other people at the auction and his society in general. While there are multiple ways of analyzing Rushdie’s story, when set in a world in which “everything is for sale” (Rushdie 98), there is perhaps an immediate response to analyze “At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers” using Marxist literary theory. Marxist literary theory would analyze how a text portrays money, power relations, and class struggles. However, in carefully observing the story, it is evident that while wealth and money plays …show more content…
The narrator internally comments that he exists in a world in which “money insists on democracy” (Rushdie 93). This means that in his world, a person’s worth is not based upon things such as race, gender, and disability that often inform the class structures of Western society, but solely on wealth. From a Marxist perspective, this would spark a class struggle because money inevitably would create class divisions. The rich, in Rushdie’s imagined world, would have every opportunity available to them from buying the Taj Mahal to a spouse to even human souls (Rushdie 98). Although wealth surely provides some with more opportunities and others left out of this opportunity, Rushdie does not at all address a class struggle. Rushdie’s lack of a class struggle in his story when there is clear opportunity leaves much to be desired in a Marxist analysis of “At the Auction …show more content…
In a world in which people can buy virtually anything that they want even the wealthy cannot stop being “sick” (Rushdie 87), physically and mentally. Evidently, there is something missing from these peoples’ lives. When the narrator remarks that, “it is to the Auctioneers we go to establish the value… of our lives” (Rushdie 101), he means that people find a purpose in going to the auction and winning things. In this, Rushdie is commenting on the accumulation of capital not through a Marxist perspective but through a postmodern one. They accumulate goods and items, but not for any reason besides to give their absurd lives a mundane purpose. Accumulation of capital is the most basic tenet of capitalism so in his criticism, he is essentially criticizing the Western world, which uses capitalism as its economic base. In the introduction to The Canadian Postmodern, this process is described as the writer being an “agent provocateur” (Hutcheon 3). This is exactly what Rushdie is doing in “At the Auction for the Ruby Slippers”, as he and his narrator as well are criticizing the culture that they are unavoidably participants

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