Modernism In Literature Essay

1625 words - 7 pages

The turn of the 20th century conveyed revolution in psychological, social, and philosophical thought. It was time for something neoteric. It was time to break out of the mundane tradition. This time of revolution conceded men, such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud, to rise to fame with their radical and cutting edge theories. Also, women were exasperated of their modeled roles in society. They sought to be independent, they longed to have the ability to vote, and most of all, they wanted legal equality. This time period also brought the renewal of European expansion. With new motivations, such as economic motivations, social imperialism, and the new theories of racial ...view middle of the document...

The space in between the front lines of the defenders and the attackers was known as "No Man’s Land". ("Trench Warfare") Thousands of battle hardened soldiers would put their lives on the line by running into this "no man's land", just to win a few feet in the battle of the frontline. This led to hundreds of thousands of casualties just to gain two or three feet on the battlefield.
There is no better picture of this theory of irrational creatures than in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which was published in 1902. ("Heart of Darkness") This novella is the story of a man, Marlow, who gathers a crew of sailors to journey down to the Congo, in British controlled Africa. As Marlow and his men begin the adventure down the river, they are soon given a mission to capture Mr. Kurtz, the best ivory extractor in all of Africa. The problem is, Kurtz has gone crazy, and his methods have gone tribal. The corporation believes he has gone insane. It's not until Marlow finally gets to Kurtz through a very trying journey, that he realizes Kurtz's actions are like the rest of ours, except Kurtz was tired of hiding behind civilization. Marlow realizes that we are all evil and we are all corrupt, but we attempt to hide it with civilization.
"The horror, the horror" (Conrad) are Kurtz last words he utters to Marlow before he dies. Kurtz realizes the life of evil he has lived, the inhuman acts he committed, and the regrets he has. The words ring true for society in the real world, expressed by Freud. We are inconsistent with rationality. ("irrational") When Marlow returns home, he must inform Kurtz's intended of his death. When she asks what the last thing Kurtz said was, Marlow lied to her, and said that Kurtz uttered her name with his dying breath. Why did Marlow lie? Was it to protect Kurtz's intended? Was it to keep her in the innocent, civilized world she was living in? A world far from the "heart of darkness" that Marlow and Kurtz were a part of.
Along with the revolution in psychology and the beliefs that humans are irrational creatures, Europe was starting to part ties with religion. Society was becoming more secular and it was becoming evident that a philosophical revolution was at hand. New theories dealing with humans and how we came into existence were becoming more popular with Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species.("Charles Darwin") This book challenged creation by a divine being. Instead, we have evolved from simple celled beings by a process called natural selection.
As if this theory of evolution didn't challenge the church and religion enough, an excerpt from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche sure did finish the job.:
"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What...

Other Papers Like Modernism In Literature

The Complexity Behind Love Essay

1204 words - 5 pages Alex Dos Santos Ryan Fenton ENGL 1102 3/24/2014 The Complexity behind Love Literary Modernism can be argued as one of the most innovated movements in literature there has been so far. Beginning around early 1920’s, modernism of literature started as artists started to break down the traditional styles and become more creative and unrestricted with their works. One major change from this movement is how poetry became more intricate and

The Effect Of Post "Great War" Ideals On The Literature Of The Times

743 words - 3 pages Unit 5 Part 1 Test EssayThe literature of an era is always reflective of its times, and for the first few decades of the twentieth century, that fact was made obvious. With the world facing new challenges, writers searched for new creative outlets and techniques, and, for the first time, began to disregard the rules of writing that had once been dogma. Events such as war, financial depression, major social problems, and developments in both

The Corn Planting

1038 words - 5 pages story shows experimentation in literature and how much a setting can influence a story.| Role of the Setting:How does the author use the landscape? How is the land/natural world portrayed?|The author uses the landscapes to portray the different lifestyles of Americans. The farm setting shows hard work and integrity while the city setting shows sin and partying and a sense of tainted freedom.|The contrast in setting is a statement of the author’s

-Ism Notes

1236 words - 5 pages to creative senses as opposed to logic Victorian Period * 1837-1901 * Literature concerned with social reform * Early Victorian period had a lot of poetry—had a lot in common with the Romantics in the sense of idealism and larger than life ideals * Late Victorian period reflected more of a sense of doubt and pessimism Edwardian Period * 1901-1919 * Same ideals of Victorian Period concerning literature * Works

Entwistle 4-Mat

1142 words - 5 pages , Polytheism, Pantheism, Monotheism and Modernism. Syncretism is the adaptation of one belief with another. Polytheism is the belief in many gods that all have a role in different parts of life. Pantheism is the belief that everything that exist is part of a great togetherness, all in oneness. Monotheism believes in one God, sharing religious history and literature. This is where Christianity comes into play. Christianity, Judaism and Islam all

T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land And The Modernist Movement

2531 words - 11 pages (“T.S. Eliot” par. 11). Eliot’s controversial poetic themes made his pieces of literature stand out from others in his time. Overtime, T.S. Eliot’s work was greatly appreciated by readers throughout the world. His precise and simplistic style of writing attracted an audience who not only appreciated, but also yearned for a change in the era of writing. Modernism was affected in a revolutionizing way by the work of Eliot through his plays

Introduction to Literature

1780 words - 8 pages Periods of British Literature For ease of study, Literary scholars divide British Literature into segments referred to as "periods." While the exact number, dates, and names of these periods vary, the following list conforms to widespread acceptance. Following the table, in chronological order, is a brief description of each period and major writers within each. The Old English Period or the Anglo-Saxon Period refers to the literature

The Aesthetic Innovations In A Modernist Context

1584 words - 7 pages William Faulkner, T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost all had an amazing ability to write and were at the forefront as literary authors of modernism which was not a period, but a faction, an attitude that focused on individualism, randomness of life, etc. Their writings were based on a worldly position that included most poets. They contributed intellectually to literature as well as made aesthetic innovations in a modernist context. Their uniqueness

Modernism In Kafka's Metamorphosis

1554 words - 7 pages Modernism in the Metamorphoses and the depiction of Modern man The modernist movement in literature began around the turn of the century and created a dramatic change in the way that authors viewed their work. The new breed of writers were extremely affected by the new perception of the world and our place as human beings in it. WW2 was on the verge of the beginning, and the literary world was expressing their fears and

Social Psychology

1693 words - 7 pages largely due to group influence and culture. Between the periods of French revolution a lot of philosophical thinkers, including Comte and Durkheim, became interested on how the society and individuals influence each other. With the vast amount of literature emerging in France on social ideas the French-social theory began to develop. The French-social theory introduced Positivism, as of Comte. The doctrine of positivism allowed philosophy and

Charles Baudelaire

1523 words - 7 pages Charles Baudelaire, a Poet of Shock Charles Baudelaire’s poems within Le Fleurs du Mal were all essentially invested in the experience of shock. The notion of shock was a main feeling and expression that was found in modernist literature. The notion of shock was shown through Charles Baudelaire’s poem through his texts focus on the rapid pace of modern life as well as reminiscing of prior occurrences in history. The cultural progression of

Related Essays

Mapping The Modern Essay

1006 words - 5 pages Humanity is forever changing, growing and transforming, and so is the concept of modernism. It was only in the latter half of the nineteenth century, namely, when society first witnessed or gave theory to this multifaceted change. Multifaceted because it effected a diverse range of innovative and experimental practices in the visual arts, literature, design and architecture. New genres and styles were being invented and combined to push

Rupert Brooke’s Connection To The Modern Era

1611 words - 7 pages individual and one’s consciousness. Modern writing showed the deterioration and alienation of the individual rather than prosperity and development. The Modern Time Period was an intuitive response to the Victorian Era. Modernism was started by cultural shocks; the greatest of these shocks was World War One ("Modernism." - Literature Periods & Movements. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2014.). During this time, Britain was engulfed in the war; although

Compare The Works Of Robert Frost And Edwin Arlington Robinson

1047 words - 5 pages their innermost ambitions; their primary difference lies in Frost's optimism and Robinson's pessimism.Frost, Robert " On Mending Wall"; The Heath Anthology of American Literature: Modernism 1910-1945. 5th Ed. Paul Lauter. Vol. D. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 2006. 1060.Frost, Robert " The Road Not Taken"; The Heath Anthology of American Literature: Modernism 1910-1945. 5th Ed. Paul Lauter. Vol. D. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 2006. 1061

Modernism’s Lost Generation Essay

663 words - 3 pages modernism differently in their individual works. In Hemingway’s novel, “The Sun Also Rises centers on a group of heavy-drinking, tough-talking and hard-living expatriates and is narrated by an American reporter in Paris” (McQuade). Like Hemingway’s other stories, they are based loosely on his real life occurrences. The characters in, “The Sun Also Rises,” were no longer able to rely on the old-fashioned beliefs that gave life meaning; the people who