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THE POSITION OF THE PROLETARIAT CLASS IN RAYMOND CARVER’S “YOUR DOG DIES”

By Ardika Rizky Saputri

Marxism is the political philosophy and practice derived from the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, though the name "Marxism" has been used by many with political perspectives those men would likely reject. This core is to critique the capitalism system. Capitalism is seen as a society in which a small minority of the population (the bourgeoisie or capitalists) dominates and exploits the vast majority (the working class or proletariat) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism).

In Marx’s labor theory of value, workers typically have no choice but produce more value and more output than is necessary to pay the cost of their reproduction as people in society over time. They do this under conditions that they do not control, i.e., under the direction of the supervisors and threatened by unemployment or poverty the rather than following democratic decision-making, and thus give the surplus-product to the owners, the bourgeoisie. The capitalists then use this surplus (also called surplus value) to accumulate more wealth and power for themselves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism).

Marxism wishes for the same position of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Proletariat class cannot be exploited by the bourgeoisie because they have the same right as a human being. Marxism against the capitalism system which have produced the bourgeoisie and the proletariat class and their unbalance of life.

The oppressed life of the proletariat class seemingly has an attraction for the poets to show it in a poetry frame. It shows how the position of the proletariat class in society area and the reaction or the struggle of the proletariat against the oppression.

In carver’s poem, “Your dog dies” we can found the imagery of the proletariat class and the bourgeoisie. The proletariat community is represented by “dog” and the bourgeoisie is viewed by “the father” of a daughter as the owner. The speaker indicates that the “dog” had leaded a life of servant hood and always fulfilling the demands of the owner. The “dog” is always claimed to give their loyalty to their owner.

The “dog” is reputed when they are alive and still give their loyalty to their owner. If they were being killed, the owner feels sad just at the beginning. In this poem the sadness that showed by “the father” did not for the “dog” as the entities, but it is just for his daughter who loves it very much. It is viewed in the first eight sentences of the poem:

it gets run over by a van.

you find it at the side of the road

and bury it.

you feel bad about it.

you feel bad personally,

but you feel bad for your daughter

because it was her pet,

and she loved it so.

The usefulness of the “dog” was represented by “daughter” that loves the dog very much. We can see that the imagery of it was addressed to the proletariat. Their existence was not occupied by the bourgeoisie as the intact creature. They are reputed just for their usefulness to serve the bourgeoisie. We can see that in the poem, the owner feels so sad just for the “daughter”, not for the dog as the creature.

For the dead of the “dog”, the owner made a poem to gratify his “daughter” who has crooned to it. And after he made a poem, he buried the “dog” deep on the ground so he cannot smell the carcass of the “dog”. It can be said that the bourgeoisie give the appreciation of the service of the proletariat, but it just only for showed to public that he pay attention to the fate of the proletariat, because at the fact, he had burrried it deep and deep on the ground to forget it forever.

and how you looked after it,

took it out into the woods

and buried it deep, deep,

and that poem turns out so good

In fact the owner feels glad of the dog’s death, because with the death he can make a good poem. It is maybe impossible if the “dog” was not death. It may reflect that the bourgeoisie will do everything to get the appreciation from the society, although they must bargain away the proletariat, because the bourgeoisie feels that it is the proletariat’s duty to obey and serve the bourgeoisie. It imagery can be viewed in the eighteenth sentence until twenty-third sentence in the poem.

you’re almost glad the little dog

was run over, or else you’d never

have written that good poem.

then you sit down to write

a poem about writing a poem

about the death of that dog,

But, when the bourgeoisie enjoy their pleasure of appreciation from society, he was entered a protest against him. The protest is comes from the proletariat who feel being regarded as unfair. But the bourgeoisie does not pay attention to the protest and continue to enjoy the pleasure of his success in get the appreciation from the society. This metaphor arises in eight last sentences:

but while you’re writing you

hear a woman scream

your name, your first name,

both syllables,

and your heart stops.

after a minute, you continue writing.

she screams again.

you wonder how long this can go on.

The “women” was compared to the proletariat, because the voice of women in generally was not being heard. It represents the proletariat that have no capability in struggle for their right and the unfair action which was done by the bourgeoisie. In this poem is told that “the women screams again” after her first scream was not heard, but as same as the first. The owner was look passiveness and nonchalant of the scream.

In his poem, Carver just wants to show that proletariat has no existence on the society. They are just used for serve the interest of the bourgeoisie. They have no capability to express their feeling and want, and they exist depend on the bourgeoisie’s want.

 

 

Your Dog Dies

By: Raymond Carver

 

it gets run over by a van.

you find it at the side of the road

and bury it.

you feel bad about it.

you feel bad personally,

but you feel bad for your daughter

because it was her pet,

and she loved it so.

she used to croon to it

and let it sleep in her bed.

you write a poem about it.

you call it a poem for your daughter,

about the dog getting run over by a van

and how you looked after it,

took it out into the woods

and buried it deep, deep,

and that poem turns out so good

you’re almost glad the little dog

was run over, or else you’d never

have written that good poem.

then you sit down to write

a poem about writing a poem

about the death of that dog,

but while you’re writing you

hear a woman scream

your name, your first name,

both syllables,

and your heart stops.

after a minute, you continue writing.

she screams again.

you wonder how long this can go on.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bengtsson, Gunnar. 2000-2009. Raymond Carver – Your Dog Dies. Retrieved June 14, 2009 from http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/carver/11777.

Marxism. (n.d). Retrieved June 14, 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism

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