Modernism in Literature

Topics: Meaning of life, World War I, World War II Pages: 10 (3741 words) Published: December 16, 2012
The period was marked by sudden and unexpected breaks with traditional ways of viewing and interacting with the world. Experimentation and individualism became virtues, where in the past they were often heartily discouraged. Modernism was set in motion, in one sense, through a series of cultural shocks. The 1st of these great shocks was WWI •Preoccupation of Modernism is with the inner self and consciousness. •Modernist cares rather little for Nature, Being, or the overarching structures of history •Modernist intelligentsia sees decay and a growing alienation of the individual. •The machinery of modern society is perceived as impersonal, capitalist, and antagonistic to the artistic impulse. •The Modernist Period in English literature was first and foremost a visceral (proceeding from instinct rather than from reasoned thinking) reaction against the Victorian culture and aesthetic, which had prevailed for most of the nineteenth century. •They could foresee that world events were spiraling into unknown territory. The stability and quietude of Victorian civilization were rapidly becoming a thing of the past. •The20th century witnessed the beginnings of a new paradigm between first the sexes, and later between different cultural groups. •In American Literature, the group of writers and thinkers known as the Lost Generation has become synonymous with Modernism. • The term itself refers to the spiritual and existential hangover left by four years of unimaginably destructive warfare. •The artists of the Lost Generation struggled to find some meaning in the world in the wake of chaos. •As with much of Modernist literature, this was achieved by turning the mind’s eye inward and attempting to record the workings of consciousness. •No means immune from the self-conscious, reflective impulses of the new century. •Modernism introduced a new kind of narration to the novel, one that would fundamentally change the entire essence of novel writing. •The “unreliable” narrator supplanted the omniscient, trustworthy narrator of preceding centuries, and readers were forced to question even the most basic assumptions about how the novel should operate. •A particular kind of stream of consciousness writing

Quoted stream of consciousness/verbalized thoughts – thoughts – silent inner speech •Represents characters speaking silently to themselves and quotes their inner speech •Is presented in the 1st person and in the present tense and employs deictic words •Attempts to mimic the unstructured free flow of thought

Can be found in context of 3rd-person narration and dialogue The Sun Also Rises - WWI
For Hemingway, this meant the abandonment of all ornamental language. •THEMES • The aimlessness of the Lost Generation; male insecurity; the destructiveness of sex •POINT OF VIEW • Jake tells the entire story from his own point of view. •Lost Generation consumed by WWI

Shattered beliefs in traditional values of love, faith, and manhood. Without these long-held notions to rely on, members of the generation that fought and worked in the war suffered great moral and psychological aimlessness. • Although the characters rarely mention the war directly, its effects haunt everything they do and say. •World War I undercut traditional notions of morality, faith, and justice. No longer able to rely on the traditional beliefs that gave life meaning, the men and women who experienced the war became psychologically and morally lost, and they wandered aimlessly in a world that appeared meaningless. •. They fill their time with inconsequential and escapist activities, such as drinking, dancing, and debauchery. •Hemingway never explicitly states that Jake and his friends’ lives are aimless, or that this aimlessness is a result of the war. Instead, he implies these ideas through his portrayal of the characters’ emotional and mental lives. •World War I forced a radical reevaluation of what it meant to be...
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