Borders of Postmodernism
Dr. Bruce Simon
Drawing attention to the mechanics of reading Post-Modern Literature in a Post-Modern way.
The arguments between the narrator and the editor in Elbow Room by James Allan McPherson can be seen as a representation of the discussions between Post-Modern and Modern theoretical approaches in literature, while the Metanarrative addresses race and gender issues. My intention is to identify the arguments between Post-modern and Modern approaches to gender and racial issues, as well as the views of Modern scholars who dismiss Post-Modern writing as an insignificant explorative vehicle. The friction between Modern and Post-Modern is apparent in the onset of story;
“Narrator is unmanageable. Demonstrates a disregard for form bordering on the paranoid. [sic] Questioned closely, he declares himself the open enemy of conventional narrative categories.” (McPherson 215)
Post modernity is believed by those who choose to accept its existence to have started after World War II. A general disregard for conventions in narrative and plot structures, rejection between low (or pop) culture and high culture, fragmentation of plot continuity and emphasis on pastiche and the use of Meta-narrative are some of the defining factors in both Modern and Post-Modern Literature genre.
The Postmodern “genre” is less defined than Modern. The departure between Modern and Postmodern is signified by a “fragmented view of human subjectivity and history (think of The Wasteland, for instance, or of Woolf's To the Lighthouse), but presents that fragmentation as something tragic, something to be lamented and mourned as a loss”. (Klages) Several scholars have attempted to analyze various aspects of Post-Modern (“Po-Mo”) literature. The difficulty in trying to understand the value in the Post-Modern genre when addressing these issues is much like the repeated phrase by characters in Elbow Room:...
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