Awake And Sing Analysis

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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 …show more content…
He portrays them as polar opposites through his descriptions of their moods throughout the scene. He depicts Morty in a jovial mood. Not only is Morty reading the comics from the newspaper during the conversation with his son, but he also frequently begins to laugh. After Moe says that Marx is a baseball player, Morty bellows “Ha ha ha, it’s better than the jokes” (Odets 73). In contrast to Morty’s glee, Odets describes Jacob as sitting “trembling and deeply humiliated” (74) and later “crying” (75) with Ralph. This juxtaposition between father and son’s states of mind places them in an opposition that parallels the opposition between capitalism and Marxism, building upon Odets’

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