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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 274

  • Stephen Spender used his poetry to express his political ideology and to voice his support of Marxist ideals. Write a poem expressing your personal political ideology, or, if you prefer, write a poem from the standpoint of a political theorist, such as John Locke, Alexis de Tocqueville, or Niccol√≤ Machiavelli.
  • Spender uses an allegory to present the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Other writers and thinkers have used allegories to convey complex social struggles and concepts. Compare and contrast Spender's allegory to another. You might choose, for example, Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" in the The Republic or George Orwell's Animal Farm.
  • Research Karl Marx and write a short paper on his role as an educated proletarian. Was Marx a wealthy man? How did he support himself? What was his relationship to the capitalist society he so wished to overturn? Make sure that your paper addresses Marx's forced position within a capitalist society and that you examine how he interacted with a social structure he despised.
  • "An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum," though it is heavy with Communist allusions, still focuses primarily on education. Examine the modern education system and try to pinpoint similarities and differences between it and the system about which Spender wrote. Do you think there is still a difference in the quality of education offered at wealthy schools as opposed to that offered at poor schools? Has the current government reformed the education system to change society's intervention in the classroom, or has everything remained the same? Support your answers with research. Identify changes that you can recognize and explore ways to improve the modern education system.

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