Explaining Beer Street and Gin Lane/Explaining Dersu the Trapper Quotation

Topics: William Hogarth, Socialism, Marxism Pages: 2 (705 words) Published: November 16, 2010
1a. During the 18th Century, a transition of upper class commodities occurred. The phenomenon of chocolate and tobacco swept European culture in a new direction regarding societal trends. Simultaneously, in conjunction with the emergence of the Industrial Revolution, alcohol–specifically gin–became more synonymous with the working class. The image provided is a fraction of an entire piece by William Hogarth called Beer Street and Gin Lane. The intended meaning of this art evaluates two forms of alcohol: beer and gin. A biased undertone outlines the beliefs from this era. Though, alternative ideas transcend the basic message of the work and reveal important historical facts. Beer Street portrays the perceived goodness of the product, and it’s ability to “cheer each manly Heart” (16, Hogarth). The poem praises beer, and rejects the malevolence of gin. Gin existed as a medicine since the mid-17th century, but it did not become easily accessible until the technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution. Machines generated at a faster pace, and the cost of production decreased. Subsequently, as, “a true child of the Industrial Revolution” (Lecture 5.1, Nappi), the availability of this product replaced beer and wine. As coffee shops became associated with upper class, bars and distilled liquor correlated with the working class. Friedrich Engels, one of the founding fathers of the communist theory, believed that drinking was a necessity for the proletariat. The stress endured during a working day could be alleviated through regular gatherings at a bar and indulging in a drink with other companions –“a moral and physical necessity” (Engels, 19th century, on drink and the working class). These environments became the epicenter for labour uprisings, as joint groups of workers, dissatisfied with their working conditions, would discuss their ideas. Aforementioned, the work contains a subjective perspective. Increase in crime and widespread drinking forced the British...
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