Buried Child Questions and Answers
by Sam Shepard

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How does Sam Shepard use postmodernism in Buried Child?

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  • Pastiche—Shepherd imitates and refers to a number of previous dramatic works. He take fragments of past myths and stories, plays, and elements of pop culture to create a suitably postmodern ironic pastiche. Indeed, it could be reasonably inferred that the entire play is an extended pastiche of Southern gothic, with its blurring of identities, confused chronology, and the breakdown of traditional order.
  • Fragmentation of language— In the postmodern condition, as identified by Baudrillard and others, there is no longer any shared meaning in society. Meaning, and the language by which it is conveyed, has been fragmented and radically decentered, and it now constantly shifts. To make up for the loss of meaning, we talk for the sake of talking, to have something with which to fill the gaping void of communicative possibilities in the postmodern world. Tilden, for example, cannot really give a satisfactory reason for why he has returned: "I was alone. I thought I was dead." Tilden, like the...

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