Postmodernism in American Literature

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Postmodernism in American literature

The novel Beloved by Toni Morrison often makes us question the credibility of what is being told, and uses many striking, sudden shifts between the past and present, making it difficult to distinguish between reality and fiction. This blurring of the truth is a common element of postmodern fiction. In fact, many scholars would say that Beloved is a great example of postmodernism. (Ebrahimi 2005) Morrison uses this technique to bring about the suffering, growth, and resurrection of her characters, and abstractly, the entire black community. With the use of postmodern elements such as resurrection/reconstruction, self-reflection, and multi-narratives, Toni Morrison successfully develops the characters and the plot and in doing so furthers the emotional connection between the reader and characters.

First, let us define what postmodern fiction is. The term “postmodern” is too vague to define simply because it encompasses a very large amount of subjects and there are too many discrepancies in defining its genuine characteristics. Vaguely, postmodern fiction is a literary movement after World War II against modernist literature. It stands to question the reality, hierarchy, and organization of the principles of our society through literature. It questions the social, political, and economic conditions of certain historic and present events. “While postmodern fiction challenges mimetic representation, it also offers a new, more overtly textual and self-reflexive form of representation that exposes its own filtered or biased quality” (Michael 43) Instead of focusing on identifying universal themes in a literary work, it seeks the instability and ambiguity of human experience, with many interpretations. Techniques such as resurrection/reconstruction, self-reflection, and multi-narratives are all applied conventions of postmodern fiction and allow us to stray from the regular conventions of modernism. Whereas Modernism...
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