The Concept Of Postmodernism English Literature Essay

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In this essay I want to analyze how postmodernism is used throughout Don Delillo ‘s White Noise and Caryl Churchill ‘s Top Girls. Although each of the texts are really dissimilar they both concentrate on limitations in society, yet open up a whole new position to what these oppressive values truly do represent. Postmodern novels are known to be published after the Second World War. It was after the nineteenth century that modernism was introduced, where the restraints from society ‘s values were rebelled against. However, in the last few decennaries, there is an apparent alteration that had occurred. Modernism focuses upon values that are suppressing in society, such as category, political relations, race and gender. Yet, postmodernism does n’t concentrate on these facets in a manner that is disputing them ; it focuses more on a Utopian thought of the universe. It is where these restraints are non merely acknowledged, but disregarded as they should n’t look to count merely because boundaries in society should n’t be an issue. Don Delillo ‘s White Noise, was foremost published in 1984 and it looks into how the universe is altering through the medium of popular civilization, the media and most significantly, engineering. The reader is exposed to this through the eyes of the supporter, Jack Gladney who is a professor of Hitler surveies in a university. A major subject that occurs throughout the novel is the topic of decease. We see that Jack has a great fright of decease. However, in one of Jacks lectures he out of the blue confronts this fright by stating, ‘All secret plans tend to travel deathward. ‘[ 1 ]Here we can utilize postmodernism to understand the implicit in significances of this quotation mark. In the bulk of literary plants, a secret plan is defined as a concatenation of events in which a character experiences to travel to towards a concluding declaration or non in some instances, but it should take to an stoping. Yet, the reader discovers that Jack has a deformed position of the conventional plotline, and that everything will most surely lead him to decease, that decease is the ultimate stoping. It could be just to state that this is why a plotline about seems to be absent in the earlier chapters of the novel ; that there is n’t the usual chronological order of a beginning, so a flood tide and a declaration. There is a sense that that Jack, alternatively of go oning forward in his life, is being held back by the mere idea of decease. He frequently thinks about ‘whoA willA dieA foremost? ‘[ 2 ], between him and Babette, his married woman, and about the clip of his ain decease. By utilizing an anachronic narration technique, it goes against the conformances of society and may be thought as one of the many features of postmodernism. The fresh tends to float back and Forth making a universe of disenchantment, pulverizing any sense of way. Another facet on which Delillo concentrates on throughout the first five chapters of White Noise is how advertisement, consumerism and popular civilization have major influences on the characters. At the college where Jack is a lector, they have a section that is dedicated to popular civilization. In the novel, Jack ‘s co-worker Murray, discusses how he would wish to establish a class that is all about Elvis Presley, a batch like the current capable Jack Teachs about Hitler. Here it shows how something every bit fiddling as these surveies seem to be, they still matter to the professors at the college, even if other deem these topics to be undistinguished. It is besides apparent to the reader that Jack feels self image is of import and indispensable to 1s aura. When Jack was appointed as chair in the section of Hitler surveies, he was told to alter his image. Jack so begins to mention to himself at the college as J.A.K Gladney and wears dark spectacless to make a more academic expression. This alteration in visual aspect holds an extreme significance when sing Jacks character. Yet, as the reader sees, Jack becomes instead uncomfortable with the new individuality that he had created and becomes slightly removed from it, uncovering that Jack possesses ontological uncertainness. ‘I am the false character that follows the name around ‘[ 3 ]. When the novel progresses, a catastrophe happens, where a toxic gas is released in the air. When faced with the world of decease, Jack so longs to hold his professional garb with him, about to protect him from the world. It is noticeable that the imagination is powerful here for the supporter. When Jack is have oning his spectacless and gown, his sense of security is heightened, in comparing to when he is casually dressed, his exposure is seeable. In add-on to this, simulacra is besides present here because, the image that Jack tries to enforce so becomes more of import than his existent ego and in bend the representation of the image posses more importance than the image itself. When Jack is exposed to the toxic chemical, we see a plotline line get downing to emerge as Jack uncovers his exposure when he is faced with the impression of decease. In the novel, Jack is given a gift from his married woman ‘s male parent. The gift is a gun. The gun is a powerful symbol, that Jack may be handed the thought of decease to him at the reasoning portion of the novel. This so consequences in him hiting Willie Mink and him gazing decease in the face. Another technique Dilillo frequently uses in White Noise is irony which is a cardinal constituent when sing postmodernism. An illustration of this would be the humourous proceedings that happen before Willie Mink is shot. Additionally, when Jack repeats the name of Hitler ‘s Canis familiaris over and over during his talk, it brings a light sense of temper to a topic that should non be taken lightly. Therefore, giving the false feeling that the novels secret plan was non traveling to reason in inevitable decease and devastation.

Something else that should be taken into consideration when looking at White Noise is, that it seems to be satirical of the chase to happen the significance of life. Murray is a premier illustration of this as he inquiries and analyses every platitude thing, particularly when mentioning to any signifier of engineering that surrounds him. In his basket in the supermarket, there is ‘generic nutrient and drink, non-branded points in apparent white bundles. ‘[ 4 ]This suggests that Murray does non conform to the consumerism that surrounds him, but challenges it. Another illustration is how Murray perceives the telecasting to be a powerful thing within society. Paranoia within this text besides specifies that this is postmodern literature. Associating to the compulsions with the impression of decease, many inquiries like ‘WhoA willA dieA foremost? ‘A A orA ‘WhenA A willA A weA A dice? ‘[ 5 ]A , indicate that paranoia is present in about every chapter. The concluding postmodern thought that is laced throughout the novel is the construct of the technological civilization and the presence of hyper-reality within the consumer society, a society in which Jack is a portion of. The rubric itself is mentioning to the uninterrupted drone of the technological universe that surrounds Jack, which is something he hears often and links it to the impression of decease. It is because of budding engineering that the unreal universe and world become merged and it is ill-defined to see where world Michigans and phantasy Begins. This is apparent in chapter, when the fake emptying takes topographic point. What happens here is a real-life exigency is treated as a readying for the existent thing. So, the simulation has replaced the existent event. Therefore, the representation of the simulation has become more of import that the existent event itself. Noel King provinces in the article ‘Reading White Noise: Floating Remarks ‘ that the novel is postmodern because it shows how ‘we inhabit a historical minute where the “ ficto-critical ” replaces the binary resistance of the “ fictional ” and the “ critical ” ‘ .[ 6 ]Delillo besides uses the image of the supermarket as one of a unafraid nature. In the 5th chapter, Jack feels slightly complete after shopping at that place. It could be said that the supermarket is the cardinal topographic point that allows an person to experience a sense of completeness in a consumer society. However, we see that this is non the instance for all the people that visit the supermarket. The older coevalss, such as the Treadwells, are intimidated by the supermarket. So, because of this incompatibility, this suggests that the supermarket is merely the semblance of security instead than really being a safe topographic point. In the last chapter of White Noise, the reader learns that clients become disrupted when supermarket is rearranged and that it puts them in a province of agitation and terror… ‘[ 7 ]It could be said that the consumers here, are being consumed themselves merely because they are consumers. The characters relationship with engineering besides plays a big portion when sing postmodernism in this novel. It, like the supermarket, provides an unreal feeling of what security is. Examples include when Jack is watching telecasting with Babette on a Friday dark, he feels that this is a signifier of adhering for the household. Besides, after retreating money from an ATM machine, Jack feels in control. The last illustration of this is where Babette begins to take medicine, which is intended to ease her fright of decease. However, it has rather the opposite consequence and she becomes inward and later is unfaithful to Jack. Jack is so taken over with retaliation against the maker of the medicine, Willie Mink. Yet, when he feels he is ready to kill Willie Mink, Mink begins to lose his saneness. He finds himself addicted to watching the telecasting and commercials while taking the medicine. He about becomes one with the telecasting, being unable to separate between the advertizements and what they stand for. Again, here world becomes intertwined with the unreal universe. It could be said that Mink is the biggest victim of the consumer society in this novel. However, in Top Girls, the postmodern thoughts come to illume through a wholly different medium. Caryl Churchill uses gender functions as a manner of facing these issues in the drama. The drama adopts the concerns that society posses about modern feminism. It concentrates on the conformances that today ‘s society struggles with such as: category divisions, gender stereotyping, agism and many others. The events that occur throughout the drama highlight these concerns through the manner they are depicted on phase and how they are performed. The supporter in Top Girls is Marlene. She represents the stereotyped myth of a calling adult female as being an edgy female who lacks maternal inherent aptitude. Here, Churchill uses this stereotype to dispute this myth, so as to misdirect the audience into being critical of the women’s rightist hero and it does this unconsciously. The opening scene in Top Girls is set in a eating house. There is a jubilation go oning as Marlene has got a publicity to be a pull offing manager for the employment bureau ‘Top Girls ‘ . There are five shade characters that join Marlene which are drawn from pictures, history and fiction. There is a thirteenth century concubine, but now a nun, Lady Nijo ; Isabella Bird, a Scotish nineteenth century traveler ; Dull Gret ; Patient Griselda, who ironically arrives late ; and eventually, Pope Joan who was the caput of the church in the ninth century and is disguised as a adult male.

This group are supposed to stand for adult females who are brave and successful. However, because of the subjects of conversation, it is apparent that the overlapping narrative soliloquies, suggest that each have different independent political orientations. This scene is the most exceeding throughout the drama as it is the lone scene where all the characters are present at one clip and that it is an unrealistic happening. Looking at the whole drama, it displays many devices which are important. Like the supermarket in White Noise, in Top Girls, the cardinal image of the drama is the employment bureau, a company that finds profitable work for its patronage. The existent province of employment is besides a cardinal subject to the drama. Each of the characters involved when measuring their ain work. For illustration, Angie ‘s is unsuitable to work, Joyce ‘s work is unpaid as a female parent and married woman and Marlene ‘s publicity. All these facets of work ( money, labor, success ) harvest up in conversation between the characters throughout the drama. The audience see that existent alteration for adult females within the bing work system is n’t truly possible when the three interviews are carried out by Marlene, Win and Nell. We see in Act One that the secretary, Jeanine, is looking for better chances, nevertheless, Marlene is merely able to urge other places of the same work. Yet, Jeanine wants better money and a higher position, but Marlene advises her to cut down her aspirations. The most important and evident technique Churchill uses in the drama is that all the histrions are adult females. Theatre analyst and playwright Micheline Wandor states that the ‘single-gendered drama may be ‘unrealistic ‘ in the sense that we all inhabit a universe which consists of work forces and adult females, but it does supply an inventive chance to research the nature of the gendered position ( male or female ) without the complexnesss and supplantings of the ‘mixed ‘ drama. ‘[ 8 ]So, by excepting the usage of male characters, ironically, this enables the drama to interrupt away from the sexist conventions. Therefore, ‘tricking ‘ the audience into believing the category battle is really a conflict of the sexes, which is the error that Marlene, Nell, Mrs Kidd, Win and Angie make. This suggests that the feminine position is besides competent of analyzing category divisions, and implementing a matriarchate that is like patriarchate based on these divisions. This is where feminism materializes in the drama. It is besides of import to analyze the different natures of adult females in the drama. First, there are the existent actresses, executing the functions that are besides female characters – fictions and dramatis character. It would be just to state that Top Girls can be referred to as a adult females ‘s drama merely because all of the histrions and characters are female, and ab initio, the cardinal focal point seem to be gender. However, this impression is removed from being the chief concern in this drama, about every bit shortly as it begins. As stated antecedently, the really first scene we see many different adult females from separate historical times and civilizations come together in jubilation for Marlene ‘s publicity. Each of the six adult females represents the diverseness of civilizations and attitudes within the societies of their clip about gender, category, faith, therefore turn outing this is a postmodern text. This so dramatises absence of integrity between people of the same gender, who are affected by the deficiency of ideological integrity. Throughout the class of the drama, we see that Marlene ‘s bourgeois manner of feminism is culturally conditions. This means that her promotional success does non dispute the patriarchal society, but conforms to the bing hierarchy. The statement between Marlene and Joyce in stoping scene high spots this point:

‘Marlene: And for the state, come to that. Get the economic system back on its pess and swoosh. She ‘s a tough lady, Maggie. I ‘d give her a occupation. / She merely needs to hang in at that place. This state

Joyce: You voted for them, did you?

Marlene: demands to halt whining. / Monetarism is non stupid.

Joyce: Drink your tea and close up, pet.

Marlene: It takes clip, finding. No more swills. / And

Joyce: Well I think they ‘re foul assholes.

Marlene: who ‘s got to drive it on? First adult female premier curate. Terrifico. Ones.

Right on. / You must acknowledge. Certainly gets my ballot.

Joyce: What good ‘s first adult female if it ‘s her? I suppose you ‘d hold liked Hitler if he was a adult female. Ms Hitler. Got a batch done, Hitlerina. / Great escapades.

Marlene: Foremans still walking on the workers ‘ faces? Still Dadda ‘s small parrot?

Have n’t you learned to believe for yourself? I believe in the person. Look at me.

Joyce: I am looking at you. ‘[ 9 ]

By the usage of Marlene ‘s duologue, the drama shifts the audience ‘s perceptual experience of the obvious separation between male and female, to the implicit in subject of the separation between the oppressed and the oppressive. Even though in the society of the drama merely has adult females in it, domination is still present throughout as there are adult females in the drama that assume more powerful functions than others. So, it would be just to state that the rubric ‘top misss ‘ is hence dry because if there are ‘top misss ‘ there besides must be ‘middle ‘ and ‘bottom misss ‘ disclosure that there is evident category subjugation and hierarchy. Thus, doing it apparent that this is a postmodern novel. So, to reason, postmodernism is a huge and loose term that can be applied to many different things, such as literature, art and history. Whereas Don Delillo is fascinated with the go oning escalation of modern engineering and the strong influences of the media, Caryl Churchill focuses more on the gender and category subjugations that are faced in life. After analyzing both texts, postmodern literature places in on the relationships, conformances and values that exist in mundane society and is enthralled by the subjugations of modern-day bourgeois civilization.

Word Count – 2,945