In what ways does the general theme of anarchism tie to Conrad's The Secret Agent?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Conrad's work needs the theme of anarchism to be present as it helps to provide the general motivation to the characters.  Verloc and his organization are anarchists, primarily because they feel alienated from the social and political order.  Anarchism is part of Conrad's work in the idea that individuals experience a dislodging in their place in the modern setting.  Anarchism is used not as much of a statement, as it is a response to being alienated.  Anarchism is critical to the organization that provides an intellectual home to Verloc and his people, calling itself The Future of the Proletariat.  The group does not seem to embrace Marxist ideals as much as uses anarchism as a justification for feeling a part of something.  Conrad's use of anarchism is a general catch- all for individuals who are significantly alienated, for whatever reason, from feeling that they belong.  Anarchism gives these people a reason for being, a sense of belonging.  It is here where anarchism ties into Conrad's novel, helping to provide a community to individuals who are disparate.  In this, Conrad might be suggesting that anarchism, itself, is flawed because it seeks to destabilize community through a community. 

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