How is the theme of war treated throughout the 1920-1945 literary period?Highlight how changing social and cultural aspects influence the development of the theme (war).

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As consistent with modernist writing, I think that war was seen as an incomplete entity.  This is in stark opposition to what governments and social orders constructed war.  War was seen by states as a means to resolve problems as well as feeding the strength of the government.  In war, there could be little room for dissent and, as nations plunged into war, the spirit of questioning authority disappeared.  As ruling political orders sought to strengthen and bolster the Status Quo, modernist writers and thinkers saw their function as quite the opposite.  Viewing fragmentation and disunity where the opposite were being preached, war was treated in the works of the Modernists as something that embodied the sense of loss and disunity that was a part of consciousness.  We can see this, most notably, in the works of Pound and Yeats, modernist writers who could not conceive of consciousness in the totalizing and direct manner that governments and social orders were advocating at the time.

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