Marxist reading of Comrade by Maxim Gorky.
Karl Marx was an ardent advocate of social justice. He advocated for the fight against unrighteous capitalism, elimination of class struggle and for socio-economic values which provide equality. Maxim Gorky’s story, Comrade, is based on the same lines. Maxim Gorky being a prolific socialist writer highlights the utilitarian behaviour of a nameless town and the subsequent rise of the working class.
The story starts with a detailed overview of the social scenario of this nameless town which is described in shades of grey and the people are lifeless. The social structure is shown as a hierarchy based on the wealth and affluence of the people. There is a huge gap between the upper classes and the poor or the working class. Due to this there is a constant fight for power and a tension between the two classes. While there are women who are forced to ‘sell their caresses for money’ due to extreme poverty, there were the rich who were ‘slaves to luxury’. The power was in the hands of the wealthy and everyone believed that it was only the money that could make them live a better life. Gorky shows how a commercial world affects the social functions of man to such an extent that they are forced to be ruled by cruelty and greed.
This inequality of power leads to the rise of the working class. The magical term ‘comrade’ works to bring everyone together in a single seat and fight together against the aristocrat and the bourgeoisie for their inhumanity. Gorky shows how a simple word such as ‘comrade’ can mean to people of the working class. Nobody is defined as poor or rich or a beggar or a prostitute, but as a comrade even by the law enforcement. This word brings a sense of equality and respect within the people. It proposes a relation between the people, a feeling of unity, and this unity helps them find their power and fight for their rights.
All they had to say was “Enough”, enough of being treated as slaves by money and wealth...