marxism - Kevin Phipps November 4, 2008 Tamra Paz-Soldn...

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Kevin Phipps November 4, 2008 Tamra Paz-Soldán Essay #4 Revised Copy “The Featherless Buzzards”: A World Forever Unjust Social equality cannot exist. That is, as long as capitalism exists. Although the working class has attempted to convince itself otherwise for centuries, twentieth century Latin American author Julio Ramón Ribeyro argues that obtaining social harmony will remain an unattainable feat until the entire capitalistic society is uprooted. His short story, “The Featherless Buzzards,” argues this idea. The story incorporates several Marxist ideas which prove Ribeyro’s overall point. “The Featherless Buzzards” depicts a struggle between the capitalistic classes and indicates that the struggle for a utopian world is a hopeless endeavor as long as capitalism remains. In the story, Enrique and Efraín are representative of the proletariat, or working class. Their job is to go to the garbage dump near the ocean and collect scraps to feed the pig, Pascual. At the dump the boys are “overcome by a nauseating smell that seep[s] into their lungs. Their feet s[i]nk into a pile of feathers, excrement, and decayed or charred matter. Burying their hands in it, they beg[i]n their work” (320). The conditions the boys work in are appalling. They toil in absolute filth at ungodly hours, every day of the week. At one point, Efraín’s foot becomes infected after cutting it on a piece of glass. Even still, the Grandfather says ‘“Nonsense! Have him wash it in the ditch and wrap a rag around it”’ (321). Ribeyro argues that this exploitation is a key reason for which capitalism should be abolished. The workers are treated as mere objects. The environment in which they labor is extremely hazardous leading to Efraín’s injured foot and
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Enrique’s illness. Even still, production is put above all else and the workers are forced to persevere through their pain, for without them, Pascual would surely starve. They remain the bottom rung on the social ladder, just as the proletariat in Marx’s model. Furthermore, the grandfather, Don Santos, is a symbol of the bourgeoisie. The role of the
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This note was uploaded on 09/18/2010 for the course ROM S 105 at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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marxism - Kevin Phipps November 4, 2008 Tamra Paz-Soldn...

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