Abstract

This paper examines how Communist Party writer Meridel Le Sueur brings together personal narrative and political ideology as a way of writing the woman’s body and experiences into Depression-era class struggle. Le Sueur’s novel The Girl, written during the 1930s but not published until its 1978 rediscovery by feminists’ recovery efforts, offers an antidote to capitalism’s pervasive commodity fetishism and reification. The novel imagines an alternative social model: an interdependent society patterned on the pregnant woman’s body. By using allegory to connect the individual story of one woman to the larger economic and social problems facing working-class people during the Depression, Le Sueur’s novel demonstrates that the experiences of an individual can embody, communicate, and educate readers about stark political and economic realities. Le Sueur attends to the bodies, hungers, desires, and shared experiences of working-class women in order to counter the individualism and competition fostered by Depression-era society. Reading the novel allegorically, this paper proposes that Le Sueur offers a new way to educate and inspire a working class readership to support the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) cause—one that goes beyond didactic summaries of Marxist texts or the assumption that members of the working-class can intuit Marxist ideas by interpreting their conditions of oppression.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1645
Print ISSN
0732-7730
Pages
pp. 395-411
Launched on MUSE
2016-12-09
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.