The Paradox of Being Human and more than Human: Exploring the Class Struggle in Nancy Kress’ Beggars in Spain

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Ms. Chithra J. L.


The human history is an apologue. It tells the struggle-some tale of races, aiming for power and prestige or for mere survival.  Marxism, discontent with the existing struggle between the haves and have-nots, envisages a classless society. Science fiction, in contrast, assumes a fictious world, not of humans alone, but of a macrocosm of living and non-living creatures including human, non-human or subhuman entities. When the divergent communities co-exist within the same planet, there arises a dissonance. Posthuman theory assumes that “the dividing line between human, non-human or the animal is highly permeable.” There is quite a good number of Science fictions that conjures up towards a posthuman future. Even though, seemingly divergent aspects, Marxian and Posthuman theory, both presumes a fictional world. The first surmises on an ideal utopia of class-less society of unique economic equality, the second foresees a futuristic world of humans- less than or more than ‘humans.’  Nancy Kress’ Beggars in Spain is a typical science fiction which tells the negative impact of genetic engineering. A few fortunate parents who could afford the expensive genetic engineering, was able to brought about a new generation of sleepless children with unique features. But those without any alterations, remained as sleepers. In the long run, the ordinary humans seemed to lose the race with the much productive individuals, who is having a bonus of sleeping hours and much more added advantages. The conflict results in a class struggle of ‘haves and have-nots’. Marxian view of the class struggle between the proletariat and the aristocrats can be analyzed on par with the classification of individuals purely based on their talents whether they inherited or purposefully custom-made. The present scrutiny rounds off the assertion that, there is no ultimate victory over the war of human and posthuman races.

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