Post #6: Neo-Marxist Analysis

The artifact that I have chosen for my Neo-Marxist Analysis is 1993 the film The Addams Family Values. The film is about how after Gomez and Morticia Addams have their third child, Pubert, they hire a nanny to help take care of him. The nanny, Debbie, is actually a serial killer who marries rich men to take their inheritances. She seduces Uncle Fester and tricks Gomez and Morticia into sending Wednesday and Pugsley to a summer camp.

According to the textbook the main focus of the Neo-Marxist perspective is to, “expose how material conditions and economic practices shape dominant ideology regarding taken-for-granted assumptions about who “ought to be” and “ought not to be” empowered.” Hegemony is the privileging of a dominant group’s ideology over that of other groups. The model are the characters who act and look in a way that is deemed “normal, attractive, or desirable” by society. The anti-model are the characters that act and look “abnormal, unattractive, or undesirable”.

In this case of this film it can be considered a subverted oppositional reading, in which it rejects hegemony outright. This is shown in how while the Addams family would be considered the anti-models, they are the ones who have the power over Debbie and the other “normal” characters of the film. Every time one of the model characters attempts to put themselves over the Addams family or change how they act, the Addams come out on top each and every time. This can be seen in how Wednesday overthrows the summer camp with her brother and the other “misfits” or how Pubert winds up saving the family from Debbie after he has returned back to normal.

I believe that this movie shows that no matter how strange or different you are from society’s definition of normal, society will not hold power over you unless you let them.

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2 Responses to Post #6: Neo-Marxist Analysis

  1. John Ward says:

    This is a very interesting artifact, Miranda. I never thought the Addams Family film Family Values could be viewed in a Neo-Marist perspective. I can definitely see the aspects of capitalistic greed is the center point of the film. Debbie’s lust for money is her downfall. I like your application of hegemony in this posting. It makes sense that Debbie represents the “ideal” normal person, which ironic since she is a serial killer. The Addams Family does not fit the normal structure since their family culture is gothic and focused on death. This film is definitely following that idea of never letting the dominant class dictate who you are.

  2. Claire Baugh says:

    I think it’s really clever that you used the Addam’s family as your artifact for this blog post. The whole gag of the franchise is that the family goes against societal norms. Therefore a very distinct “us” and “them” atmosphere in the movies. It is easy to decipher when Debbie enters the picture.

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