Capitalist Usage Of The American Dream In John Wister's The Virginiaan

Submitted By Alex-Deitch
Words: 1869
Pages: 8

Capitalist Usage of the American Dream

The society of capitalist have always thrived from the hard work from the lower societies consisting of laborer. Between the 1890’s and the 1900’s, the division of wealth between the two classes of capitalist and labor was at an all-time high in the early nation’s history. This great division of wealth gave a definition of class structure that people within a society belong. These classes include those who have the means of labor, and those who perform the labor, with undoubtedly massive benefits being received by those who have the means. A subtle ideology was introduced to early America to represent that hard work gets a man to a proper title. The ideology of the American Dream, which capitalist exploited as much as possible, an ideology that remains constant and strong in America today. An early writer by the name of Owen Wister contributes to this ideology in his novel The Virginian where he shows a man that move up in the ranks of society through hard work. The novel is a direct representation of the class conflict preferring the side of the capitalist. Although Wister continually promotes the aspect of the honest laborer and accomplishments gained through hard work, Wister is simply furthering the ideology of the American Dream which ultimately results with the capitalist gaining from the laborers. Therefore by showing labor in a positive light, Wister accomplishes portraying the misguided truths of the American Dream. The emphasis of the characteristics of Wister’s character, the Virginian, draws a direct relationship between the ideology of the American Dream and the prospect of the hard-worker in society to rise. The Virginian’s characteristics help to formulate an idea for the rest of society as guidelines of how an average worker should conduct himself. This is shown early in his novel where the Virginian is guiding the Narrator to the Judge’s house. Wister argues that even though the Virginian was “one of thousands drifting and living thus, [he was] one in a thousand” (43). Wister uses this passage as a way to build up who the character of the Virginian represents within society, that he is the proper man in which to bestowed higher honor and responsibility. The Virginian is the essence of the working class in American society and a guideline for how to conduct one’s behavior. Wister is centering his focus of the Virginian to represent why it is important to work hard, that one can achieve goals through these acts. The representation directly relies on the American Dream within society for others to follow the Virginian’s actions and characteristics as a guild for society to work harder. This working class appears to be the ones with the most to gain, while at the core of it all, it is the capitalists that flourish of the sweats of the common man. Although the Virginian shows the people how to behave one’s self, Trampass stands opposed. The character of Trampass is a representation of everything that goes against the capitalist and the means in which they utilize the workings of the American Dream. Trampas has gone against the capitalist ways when he disregards the ideas of the American Dream which represents hard work and that’s how one moves up in their socio-economic status. The characters in Wister’s novel have captured some of Trampas’ comrades and plan to execute them while prying them for information on the where- a-bouts of their leader. Trampas has taken them under his leadership and has “enticed Shorty away from good, and trained him in evil” (254). This reference to Trampas turning them evil and him in fact being referenced in this way much of the novel argues the point of capitalist versus labor. This is how the narrator shows that going against the ways of the American Dream where labor and hard work is the idea situation to accomplish work. Trampas represents a sector who attempts to “get rich quick” in illegal ways which the Virginian,