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Contemporary period in Americanliterature
beginsattheendof. World. War. II the. Modernistperiod(takingplacebetweenthe 1920 sand 40 s)exploredthewaysthattruthis notstraightforward, rationalorclearlydefined, butratherhowitiscompletelyinfluencedby humanperception thehumanmindasameanstogetatreality Hemingway , Gertrude Stein and T. S. Eliot , Modernistsbelievedthatthecharacters’ thoughtsmatteredmorethantheplot, andthe waythingsaresaid-intermsoftherhythmand imagery-maycommunicatemoreaboutthe characterthanwhattheyaredoing.
markerfor. Modernliterature Passagesmaynotproceedinanorderedway, butmaybemorechoppyorfragmented Theshiftfromworkingtoobjectivelyportray eventsandexperiencesintheworldtotheoften nonsensicalexplorationofhumanpsychology ashiftinhowweseetheworld-truthismerelya productofhumanperception-aclear, objective standardfortruthisn’tquitesoclear-cut, and realityis, tosomeextent, whatwemakeofit.
Throughouttheendofmodernism, peoplewere dealingwiththehorrorof. WWII. Thebombsdroppedoncitizensin. Dresden, Hiroshimaand. Nagasakilefttheworld traumatized, wonderingiftherewas anypoint to humanexistence the. Contemporarywritersfollowingthewar struggledtoreconciletheirrationalandviolent actionstakenbyhumans
Kurt. Vonnegut, Jr. “ I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different” —K. V.
mostassociatedwith the 1960 s , popularwith Bohemiansandhippies crazyexperimentalfiction -Satire, blackcomedy Americannovelistbestknownforhisworksof sciencefiction Whenhisstoriesexaminethemoralimplications oftechnology, theyarecalledsciencefiction. Whentheymakecomedyoutofthehorrorsand absurditiesofthehumancondition, theyare calledblackhumor. Shortstorywriter(Adam- Mr. Knechtmann , holocaustsurvivor )
The. Early. Years Born-November 11, 1922, Indianapolis, Indiana Grandfather-firstlicensedarchitectin. Indiana Father-wealthyarchitect Family’swealthdiminishedwhenthe. Great Depressionhitand. Kurt. Sr. couldn’tfindwork Parentshadtroubleacceptingthefactthattheywereno longerwealthy Mothercommittedsuicideon. May 14, 1944(Mother’s. Day)(he wasawayatwar) Fatherretreatedintohisownlittleworlduntilhisdeathin
oweshisscientificbenttohisfather, atrue believerintechnologywhoinsistedthathis sonsstudy“somethinguseful. ” wentto. Cornell. University servedasassistantmanagingeditorand associateeditorforthestudent newspaper, the. Cornell. Daily. Sun, and majoredinchemistry thewar duringhisthirdyear. Vonnegutdecidedto quitcollegeandjointhearmy.
aninfantrycombatscoutin. World. War. II, wascapturedby. Germansoldiersduring the. Battleofthe. Bulgein 1944. Heldasa prisonerofwarin. Dresden, Germany survivedthe 1945 Alliedbombingof Dresden( classifiedtop-secretforyears ) becausethe. Americanprisonerstook shelterinameatlockerthreestories belowtheground. (Slaughterhouse-Five).
The. Sirensof. Titan(1959), Mother. Night(1961), Cat’s. Cradle(1963), God. Bless. You, Mr. Rosewater(1965), Breakfastof. Champions(1973)
Writing. Style Longsentences Littlepunctuation “ Donotusesemicolons. Theystandforabsolutely nothing. ” Humanistpointofview Asdescribedby. Kurt. Vonneguthimself, “beinga Humanistmeanstryingtobehavedecently withoutexpectationofrewardsorpunishment afteryouaredead” Nonlinear. Chronology-eventsareoutoforder
Writing. Style Satire-theuseofhumor, irony, exaggeration, or ridiculetoexposeandcriticizepeople’sstupidity orvices, particularlyinthecontextof contemporarypoliticsandothertopicalissues “ Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. ” “ It is a very mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead. ”
Writing. Style Repetition Allusions(religious, literary, classical) Useofanalter-ego “ Combinationofsimplicity, irony, andrue” Blendedliteraturewithsciencefictionand humor, theabsurdwithpointedsocial commentary
Slaughterhouse-Five, or the Children’s Crusade cameoutin 1969, 25 yearsafterthe Dresdenfirebombing theanti-warmovementreallystartedto intensifyinthe. U. S. Billy. Pilgrim
Response To Conformity confrontabsoluteandunquestionedpatriotism — americanswerethegoodguys, andtheycould donowrong sociallyoppressive: supertraditional. American values- includedsupportforthingslikefree marketcapitalism, traditionalcourtship(nosex withoutmarriage), sobriety(nodrugsoralcohol), awoman’splaceintheworldwasathome counterculture, the underground , spokeout againstthemassconformity( Arthur Miller and J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye ). Harlan. Ellison. IHave. No. Mouth, and. IMust Scream
the contemporary period amarkedshiftfromstoriesthatshowed realisticeventsandsituationstoportraying theinnerexperiencesandsometimes irrationalpsychologyofhumanbeings. twomainqualitiesthatmarkthisshift: the quest for identity Expressionism
a quest for identity searchingforwhotheyareandstrugglingtofind theirplaceinthemodernworld Ralph. Ellison’s The Invisible Man , (racial prejudice). Arthur. Miller’s Death of a Salesman (Willy Loman, inanever-endingquesttobuymore). themostclassicexampleofaheroonaquestto findhimselfis. Holden. Caulfieldfrom. J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye
rebellioussocialoutcast At the end of the first act we went out with all the other jerks for a cigarette. What a deal that was. You never saw so many phonies in all your life, everybody smoking their ears off and talking about the play so that everybody could hear and know how sharp they were. hetalksopenlyabouthisinternalstruggletofind hisplaceinwhatheseesasaworldofjerks
Expressionism Makingpersonalpsychologicalexperience visibletothereaderisanothermajorelementof contemporaryliterature, atrendknowninliterary circlesas Expressionism. tobringinternalfeelingsandexperiencestothe surface, acharacter’sinnerlifeisjustasimportant, ifnot moreimportant, thantheexternaleventstaking place. Expressionismistheattempttoshowthe character’sinnerstruggles
Expressionism When I really worry about something, I don’t just fool around. I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something. Only, I don’t go. I’m too worried to go. I don’t want to interrupt my worrying to go. Holden. Caulfield
Expressionism expressionofemotionalexperiencecantake placenotonlyinwhatissaidbutalsointhe rhythm E. g. rhythmandtonein The Death of a Salesman -Willy. Loman’sexperience: Sh! He turns around as if to find his way; sounds, faces, voices, seem to be swarming in upon him and he flicks at them, crying, Sh!
Cisneroswasbornin. Chicago, Illinois, toa. Mexican Americanmotheranda. Mexicanfather. theonlygirlinafamilyofsevenchildren, sheoftenfelt likeshehad“sevenfathers” workedontheschoolliterarymagazine fatherencouragedhertogotocollege…tofinda husband enrolledintheprestigiousgraduatewritingprogramat the. Universityof. Iowa -feltisolated “ It was not until this moment when I separated myself, when I considered myself truly distinct, that my writing acquired a voice. I knew I was a Mexican woman, but I didn’t think it had anything to do with why I felt so much imbalance in my life, whereas it had everything to do with it! My race, my gender, my class! That’s when I decided I would write about something my classmates couldn’t write about. ”
Firstprosework, The House on Mango Street , (twenty-nine) -awardedthe. Before. Columbus American. Book. Awardin 1985 booksofpoetry, achildren’sbook, anda short-storycollection “ Tome, thedefinitionofastoryissomethingthat someonewantstolistento. Ifsomeone doesn’t wanttolistentoyou, thenit’snotastory. ”— Cisneros
contemporaryliterature: Juxtaposition adefiniteshiftfromaccuratelyportraying eventsinthephysicalworldtoaccurately portrayingtheinnerrealityofhumans Inordertoshowthecomplexityofhuman experience, writerswillblendandmixup eventsoutoforder, juxtaposingimages fromdifferenttimesorspacestogether, in ordertocreateasenseorfeeling.
Juxtaposition juxtaposition meansplacingimagesthat normallyaren’tseentogether, theclashbetweenthetheseimageshighlights theirdifferences. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (Willy Lomanhavingaregularconversationwithhis wife. Lindaabouthisdayatwork, andthen…the soundofawomanlaughingandtalkingto. Willy)
Writersofthisperiodexperimentwithformsand topics, manyinsistingthatnofixedstandard existsforcontemporaryliterature. Thistrend— questioninganorderedviewoftheworld— becomesknownas. Postmodernism. topicssuchaspersonalchange, generational change, andculturalidentity Anne. Sexton, John. Updike, Simon. J. Ortiz, Julia Alvarez, Maxine. Hong. Kingston