Michelle's blog

November 2nd, 2010

“The City of the Yellow Devil”

Posted by michellemartins in Uncategorized

We live in a materialistic world, and all we care about is getting money, and spending this money.

In Maxim Gorky’s “The City of the Yellow Devil”, his view of what New York City is, is made extremely clear to us as the readers through the strong stance that is taken, as well as through the voice within the entire chapter. Gorky’s opinion about New York City is that the city corrupts people, and is centered around money and obtaining money, so once you become a part of this city, you too will only live for money. “People have finished the days work and- never thinking of why it was done, or whether it was any use to them- hurry home to bed” (15). Gorky expresses how people only live for money and that the original identity of America has been lost. America which used to be the land of opportunities, of freedom to live, is now a land centered around the “Yellow Devil”.

When we normally think of immigrants coming to America, we think of the description of America as the land of opportunities. However Gorky provides us with an extremely different view America. His opinion on the American dream is made clear when he states things such as “Entering the city is like getting into a stomach of stone and iron, a stomach that has swallowed several million people and is grinding and digesting them”(9). Gorky is able to describe a moment that normally resembles hope and optimism, and creates a completely opposite feeling within the reader.

While reading this, I found Gorky’s voice to be pessimistic and disappointed. Gorky is looking down upon the city, and he doesn’t like what it has become. “This is a city. This is New York….A haughty pride in its height, and its ugliness is felt in each house. There are no flowers at the windows and no children to be seen”(8). He is disappointed that the city has lost its life, its exciting aspect, it has strictly become business. “They were taught to work, but not to live, and so the day of rest is a hard day for them…..Six days of the week life is simple. It is a huge machine, and they are all its cogs….But on the seventh day-the day of rest and idleness-life looms before him in a strange dismantled guise” (34).

From reading Gorky’s chapter, we see through his passionate word choice, and pessimistic and disappointed voice that he is not a fan of what the city is now, and through the use of many similies he conveys these feelings.

Gorky’s stance on this way of living in New York is extremely critical. He is describing his observations to the reader, and is trying to convince the reader that this is not the right way of living life.

Gorky’s voice is one of an infuriated witness.

Gorky uses a lot of support to strengthen his thesis throughout the piece. He uses many similes to further support his opinions. These similes are clearly full of emotion and strong opinions so they ¬†allow the reader to understand Gorky’s perspective. Along with these similes, Gorky also uses vivid descriptions to create images of the city.

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