The Wretched of the Earth Study Guide

The Wretched of the Earth

The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

The Wretched of the Earth Book Summary

Fanon presents thorough critiques of nationalism and of imperialism, a discussion of personal and societal mental health, a discussion of how the use of language (vocabulary) is applied to the establishment of imperialist identities, such as colonizer and colonized in order to teach and psychologically mold the native and the colonist into their respective roles as slave and master , and a discussion of the role of the intellectual in a revolution. Fanon proposes that revolutionaries should seek the help of the lumpenproletariat to provide the force required to effect the expulsion of the colonists. Moreover, in traditional Marxist theory, the lumpenproletariat are considered the lowest, most degraded stratum of the proletariat social-class—especially criminals, vagrants, and the unemployed—people who lacked the class consciousness to actively participate in the anti-colonial revolution.

Yet, Fanon applies the term lumpenproletariat to identify the colonial subjects who are not involved in industrial production, especially the peasantry, because, unlike the urban proletariat (the working class), the lumpenproletariat have sufficient intellectual independence from the dominant ideology of the colonial ruling class to readily grasp that they can successfully revolt against the colonial status quo , and so decolonize their nation.

One of the essays that is included in the "Wretched of the Earth" is On National Culture in which Fanon highlights the necessity of generations to discover its mission and to fight for said mission.

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