What makes up a modern/contemporary style of writing?
how do Hemmingway, sherwood anderson, flannery o'connor, leslie silko, raymond carver, tim o'brien, frank o'connor, and/or albert camus use this style?
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All the authors write under the paradigm of Modernism, a movement that encompasses all the arts and whose undercurrents were felt at the turn of the twentieth century. What the modernist movement mostly reflects is what one may term the trauma of human existence. Driven by Freudian insights that rose to prominence around 1900 and the apocalyptic nature of WW I that illustrated for the first time the potential for destroying human lives most efficiently in the shortest amount of time, writers began to question western Judeo-Christian Idealism.
Modern texts often express an uncertainty about man's position and purpose in the the universe, and they do so by breaking away from established rules and conventions such as the Victorian narrator for instance. While we find a sort of purposeful striving towards an end ( e.g. to get married, to abolish slavery, to climb out of poverty etc) in the nineteenth century texts, modern characters quite often simply hover in their day to day lives without a concrete aim or purpose, or tragically fail in their aims ( The Old Man and the Sea, or The Stranger for instance). Modern texts for the most part do not present the reader with closure because they often have non-linear development and may not use the dramatic sequence ( rise, climax, denouement...the end). They may end with an aporia, or a blind-spot, that makes the reader ask " that can't be the end?".
Modernism most poignantly reformed the narrator. It chronicles the rise of heteroglossia or the appearance of different voices within a text. It thus breaks with the omniscient narrator in favor of being able to present a plethora of viewpoints from different characters. We can often find information on a character through the character himself ( he may narrate in a stream of consciousness manner for instance), from other characters, from the outside narrator, and in some text from ghosts or the author. With all the different narrative voices, one always has to ask which is ultimately the most reliable one. Quite often, none of them. they compete and leave us with the tentet of modernism, uncertainty.
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