There is many literary movements that have been created throughout humankind. Specifically, this essay will discuss the infamous movement: postmodernism. This movement was created as a result to a reaction of Enlightenment ideas. Many people sought different viewpoints to the reasons of humanity which caused an outrage between parties. Post modernists started their own literary movement in 1965 and is still widely used today in literature and art.
Postmodernism has factors to how it started and one of the main ones is World War II. This war that lasted from 1939-1945 was one of the most traumatic, tragic, blood-shedding events to ever happen in human history. This had an effect on postmodernism and the people that follow this literary movement. Anyone that lived through the years of war would be paranoid afterwards and that is one quality of postmodernism: paranoia. A character in a literary work of postmodernism would question what is going on around them resulting in self-consciousness. This was a feeling that people had during and after the war period which is now implied in this movement. Another quality that works share of postmodernism is: irony. Irony has different meanings, but the meaning of irony that is applied to the works of postmodernism is to ”be a situation that ends up in quite a different way than what is generally anticipated”, according to Literary Devices. This goes on to show that a character does not always know the direction of its situation, because no one ever knows what is truly going to happen in their lives and at the moment.
Furthermore, there is numerous authors and writers that were important to postmodernism. One well known author that contributed to postmodernism was: Kurt Vonnegut. His dark humor and irony brought his books to the top and were best-sellers. He was also known to talk about United States counterculture and this partly had to do to the fact that he was a satirist. Slaughterhouse-Five was one of the best representations of postmodernism due to the different techniques such as pastiche which is the combination of past literary works and ideas to create new styles of writing. This work also shows the truth about reality: how there is not always a hero and a villain to every story etc. He wrote this novel as a response to war since he himself was a soldier in World War 2. Along Vonnegut is Jorge Luis Borges. He wrote short stories, because he believed that anything could be expressed more quickly and effectively in that format. His stories are more about philosophy and the breaking down of traditional ideas of time and space. One of his famous works called “The Library of Babel” which shows how any person’s quest for meaning will only result in failure. The library refers to the universe (so it has been here since forever) and we the readers are outsiders to the universe of the library. In addition, a third author that was important to postmodernism was Chuck Palahniuk. One of his most famous works is the novel Fight Club written in 1996. This book discusses how inferior and low people feel in a late capitalist society. Events in this story cause confusion which leads to readers wondering the narrator’s identity. This is another quality present in many postmodernism works: doubt or questioning the character’s identity.
In conclusion, postmodernism has had major contributors in literature, symbolic qualities of literary works, and history. Vonnegut, Borges, and Palahniuk are only some of the many authors that have taken their intellect and experience to the limits to produce good-quality novels and stories that are widely read today with numerous postmodernism themes. In addition, paranoia, self-consciousness, irony, and pastiche are some techniques that are applied to many works to outshine non-postmodernism works. Some works that include these methods are: Slaughterhouse-Five, Fight Club, and “The Library of Babel” have won multiple awards for the outstanding content. Moreover, World War 2 played an important role in the development of postmodernism through personal experiences, emotions felt at that time, and the effect that it left in this literary movement.
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