Masterplots II: Nonfiction Series Factory Journal Analysis
“Factory Journal” is one of those rare publications which provides an intimate look into the workplace of the common person. Yet it could have been written only by an outsider. Simone Weil seems to have been one of the great outsiders of history, a member of a supportive family but despairing of her place in it, a Jew who tells of mystical experiences with Jesus, a lover of Catholicism who refused baptism, a talented writer who believed that her natural ability was mediocre, a political activist and anticapitalist who thought that the work of the Left benefited only the Soviet bureaucracy. Gradually, she came to believe that liberation of the poor must occur within the basic socioeconomic context of their lives and not in revolution or political action per se. “Factory Journal” is instrumental in her account of a quest for something beyond the social, something she would call love of neighbor or justice. At this time, she had not yet read the Sermon on the Mount, but, as she would explain later, the message contained in its teachings was becoming the first and necessary duty. It was in this spirit that she had rented a room near the factory and set out to live on her meager earnings. She was pushed close to the breaking point.
Later, when her notebooks and other writings were published, many would find her struggle altruistic, insightful, and even saintly, although there would be some who questioned the depth of her motivation. Some people saw a...
(The entire section is 1041 words.)
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