18 May 2022


Realism, Modernism & Postwar literature

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Realism: Intro to Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton 
is acknowledged as one of the major American writers whose literary works hit the world. Edith’s works have been hailed for their precise description of the society and the satire and shrewd commentary on matters of social order. Some other themes integrated into Edith’s works include the relation between passion and dependency and independence and affiliation. The kind of timelessness between has triggered unmatched popularity both as the author and the subject for research. Edith’s style of writing is characterized by control and simplicity. Her choice of sentence structure and vocabulary is astounding. All through the novel, Edith uses a mixture of behavior patterns, charged words, and imagery patterns- all these serve a definite structural and stylistic purpose. Since Edith refrains from the use of superfluous and redundant modifiers, her depictions appear to be incomplete and elliptical (Wharton & Auchincloss, 1989). 

The purpose and rationale of the study have been vividly stated. Even if the lack of proper research could be perceived to be the rationale, it would have been more significant to get more information justifying the study. To detect any problem in her research, the author should have cited information that centralizes the gravity of the impact of the study on her readership. Such information is the one that would submerge into a purpose statement for the study. The questions that were developed earlier are now used to guide the researcher into making informative decisions about the use development of the central ideas within the text written by the author ( Jacobs, 2014 ). The author is careful in selection and choice of adverbs and adjectives. Further, her imagery is always proper to the restrictions of her characters and is subtly and simply stated. 

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Naturalism: “Impressions of an Indian Childhood” by Zitkala Sa 

The narration and diction contained within the Zitkala Sa throughout the novel is a clear indication that she possesses a joyous youth, and is yet to have a negative identity related to her Indian background. Zitkala-Sa’s selection of words in her literary text reinforces the concept that she developed during her childhood; a move that gives her a positive perception of her cultural identity. About certain traditions, Zitkala-Sa states those special moments in the evening she hoped to enjoy whenever elders rose up to share legends and good humorous stories. It appears that Zitkala-Sa possesses a positive perception of her Indian individuality and through a keener analysis of her text, readers can see it shown in this classic genre associated with Indian literature 9 Zitkala-S̈a, 2008). 

By incorporating theory to internalize this text, readers can see how certain words across the page turn out to become an image in the minds of readers and can encourage the emotions of readers and how diction and narration portray a whole picture of the plot followed in the story ( Childs, 2016 ). Zitkala-Sa vividly exemplifies the manner in which she perceives herself affiliated with a positive individuality with the Indians. In my own introspective, it is imperative that the Indian literature is well developed since having that kind of perception is instrumental in history. 

Modernism: Introduction to Ernest 

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) is an author who has occupied a dominant place in the chronicles of American literary history, by his revolutionary role in the 20th century arena. By interpreting a realistic portrayal of the inter-war period with its disintegration and disillusionment of old values, Hemingway presents a dilemma of the modern human being in a world that is always seeking to reduce him to a mechanism. By writing in a simple and unusual way, with the major themes such as violence, problems of war, and death, his work presents a unique and symbolic interpretation of life. 

The centrality of including Hemingway’s work in the American literature compilations can never be over-emphasized. The text by the author contributes greatly to our knowledge (as readers). Even though this information cannot be overly generalized, it is still invaluable for various key personnel who need to source important insights from it. The art of moving away from seeing oneself bombarded with dictionaries every time one writes is to ensure that enough practice is done, and also frequently ( Williams, & Matthews, 2014 ). The work by the author could be improved by using multiple examples that would support his art. By using a multitude of examples, it is hoped that there would a seamless flow that would not only reinforce ideas but also instill a sense of enjoyment while reading the work. The author has tried in integrating the piece of art that supports the interesting nature of what he is writing. However, he can do more than just using styles such as quotes; he can, for instance, use anecdotes at the beginning of major subheadings. This is bound to create a space of curiosity in the minds of readers as they continue reading the text. 

Trends in postwar American literature: “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg’s work is perceived to be an omnibus of modernist poetry which gives the reader a prime illustration of the modernist and deconstruction form. In his writing, Ginsberg moves away from the formal poetry styles that initially characterized the academic disciplines of fictional criticism. His poetry attempts to recreate patterns of conversation and forms of speeches by using a long line as a template for experimentation. One interesting thing is that the title of Ginsberg’s poem alone prepares the reader for what to anticipate. His poem cannot be said to be a quiet poem, but one that is full of noise, and unsettling themes and images. 

Ginsberg wanted “Howl” to serve as an expression and representation of self-destruction, artistic energy, and frustration; a generation which he felt was under direct suppression by a dominant American culture. For any poet or a person to howl, it meant that the individual was essentially breaking from the habit of conforming to the ideals and virtues of American civilization, and expression of the counter-cultural goal of realizing free expression. 

The title alone serves as an expression of the main themes found in the poem- madness. This is because, “to howl” is often related to animals howling at the moon in the sky, an image which Ginsberg sought to convey. The real artists of the Beat Generation are symbolized by animals, regularly wild in their instincts, and because they are nocturnal regarding underground jazz and literature, they are not accepted by cultured members of the society. It can also be seen that the moon also symbolizes madness. Historically, medical opinions are drawn from the 19th century and beforehand believed that individuals who were mad and evil would certainly manifest this kind of tendencies whenever the moon was full. Howling at the moon in artistic and poetic terms implies announcing that madness has entered into the society, and will not be eliminated silently (Ginsberg, 1957). This became a theme which Ginsberg would consider throughout this writing career. 


Childs, P. (2016).  Modernism . Routledge.

Iles, A. (2016). Realism after Modernism: The Rehumanization of Art and Literature.

Ginsberg, A. (1957).  Howl, and other poems: By Allen Ginsberg . San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop. 

McDowell, M. B., & G.K. Hall & Company. (1999).  Edith Wharton . New York: G.K. Hall & Co.

Jacobs, R. (2014). A Handful of Dust Realism: Modernism/Irony: Sympathy. In  Reassessing the Twentieth-Century Canon  (pp. 75-90). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Williams, K., & Matthews, S. (2014).  Rewriting the thirties: modernism and after . Routledge.

Wharton, E., & Auchincloss, L. (1989).  The Edith Wharton reader . New York: Collier Books. 

Zitkala-S̈a, . (2008).  Impressions of an Indian childhood . Gloucester, UK: Dodo Press.

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