“A lot of blood gets lost here” : Class Struggle and Ideology in The Kitchen

Creative Commons License


Gaziantep Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, vol.22, no.1, pp.132-144, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


Arnold Wesker’s The Kitchen (1957) presents the world of labour where the two social classes, the capitalist class and the working class, with hierarchies between each other and among themselves, clash, which ends with the exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie. The harsh working conditions at the restaurant, the changing pace of work, little time given by the employer to the employees to rest and socialise, and the dehumanising aspect of labour are presented through the relationships between the two social classes and also among the working class people. Hence, the aim of this paper is to argue that the relationship between the capitalist class and the working class based on labour and production and the working class people’s submission to the practices of the ruling class in The Kitchen can be analysed through the Marxist concepts of class conflict and ideology, respectively. Accordingly, it will be demonstrated that class conflict is seen not only between the bourgeoisie, the owner of the capital, and the proletariat, the agent of production, but also among the members of the proletariat of different nationalities, which is expressed through racial hatred. Furthermore, it will be displayed that the employees of the restaurant not only consciously accept the economic conditions under which they work but also reveal their cultural/artistic tastes during short breaks that are set by the employer, which shows that both work and leisure are controlled by the capitalist class.