Essay about Awake And Sing By Clifford Odets

767 Words Sep 13th, 2016 4 Pages
Throughout his play Awake and Sing! Clifford Odets presents the ideas of capitalism and Marxism in opposition as the play’s central family struggles through the economic burdens placed on them by the Great Depression. In the last several pages of Act II Scene I, the conflict between these two ideals reaches a climax. Odets utilizes numerous literary devices, including symbolism, characterization, allusion, and irony in order to create an allegory in which Jacob and Morty’s tense father son relationship is analogous to the contention between capitalism and Marxism. Ultimately, Odets subversively uses this allegory to prompt his audience to question the merits of a capitalist system. In the beginning of the section, Jacob alludes to several places where labor protests became violent and exclaims that slavery “begins where success begins in a competitive system” (72). This statement clarifies Jacob’s view of capitalism to the audience. In his eyes, capitalist labor practices and slavery are indistinguishable. Such a strong belief establishes Jacob as affiliated with Marxism while Morty’s disagreement with his father places him in allegiance with capitalism. Odet continues to illustrate Jacob’s Marxist ideals. As Jacob argues with his children, he reminds them that “it says in the Bible how the Red Sea opened and the Egyptians went in and the sea rolled over them.” He then declares that “a Red Sea will happen again” (Odets 72). Jacob’s biblical allusion echoes the Marxist…

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