This excerpt from the first chapter of The Communist Manifesto establishes the dichotomy between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, which is merely a new relationship of oppressor vs. oppressed in the history of class struggles, as Marx and Engels argue that all societies have had these kinds of contending classes.
In reading against the grain students analyze the dominant reading of a text and engage in alternative or "resistant" readings. Resistant readings scrutinize the beliefs and attitudes that typically go unexamined in a text, drawing attention to the gaps, silences and contradictions.
This strategy exposes students to multiple short pieces of a text before they read it in its entirety. Students read selected quotes out of context and comment on both the selection and the comments of other students. The activity ends with students reflecting on their reactions to and predictions about the text.
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