Modern Predicaments of 20th Century Literature

Topics: Liberalism, Modernism, Modern history Pages: 11 (3835 words) Published: March 16, 2013


The present study has investigated the predicament of modern men in the various genres of 20th century. As the thorough examination of a few literary pieces of 20th century such as William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, T. S Eliot’s The Waste Land, and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot reveals alienation, faithlessness, desolation, frustration, uncertainty, lack of intelligence, lack of consciousness, sense of interdependence, class distinction between rich and poor etc of modern men. The books undoubtedly reveals that all the writers were deeply concerned with the pathos related to modern age.


A predicament is a problematic situation about which one does not know what to do. I have investigated the predicament of modern men in the various genres of 20th century. When we deeply think about modern men we find that the life of modern men is too much unrest. They can’t get any peace of life. They don’t know how to get success. They are always confused. They have no confidence to change their lot. They are unable to find any meaning any significance of life. The assignment is divided into four sections. In first section I’ve explained the predicament of modern men from Lord of the Flies, in second section, I’ve explained the predicament of modern from Death of a Salesman, in third section, I’ve explained the predicament of modern men from The Waste Land and in fourth section, I’ve explained the predicament of modern men from Waiting for Godot.

Literature Review

Many critics investigated about the predicament of modern men in various genres of 20th century. And all have shown the miserable condition of modern men. How confused, frustrated modern people are. They have shown that modern men can’t take proper decision in proper time. They have lack of intelligence, lack of confidence , they have lost their moral values. Critics showed us nicely with their own views and thoughts.

Research Methodology

* Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Date of birth: 1911
Publication of the book: 1954
* Death of a Salesman
Author: Arthur Miller
Date of birth: 1915
Publication of the book: 1949
* The Waste Land
Author: T. S Eliot
Date of birth: 1888
Publication of the book: 1922
* Waiting for Godot
Author: Samuel Beckett
Date of birth: 1906
Publication of the book: 1952

Data Presentation

First section:
Lord of the Flies is a modern novel. In this novel we find the predicament of modern men. Here we find lust to capture power in Jack’s character. Jack is proud and arrogant by nature. His arrogance is seen in his defiance of Ralph’s authority as the leader and in his efforts to become the leader himself. In spite of his failure in the efforts, he asserts- “I’m going to be chief.”

He becomes too much cruel to capture power. He tells the boys that Ralph is a coward and unfit to govern. He should be thrown out and another leader chosen. We find the struggle between Jack and Ralph for capturing power. In Lord of the Flies we find frustration among several boys. At the very beginning we see that a large number of boys ranging from five to twelve years of age gather together on the beach. They are frustrated about their situation and decide that since no adults are present it is necessary to choose a leader. Ralph is chosen primarily because he had taken the initiative to call the meeting. Jack is disappointed to have been left out but Ralph assuages his feelings by making him and choir the soldiers and hunters for the group. Jack is not quite reconciled and vents his frustration by teasing Piggy. His sense of frustration and hence his hunger for power is revealed when he fails to killing the pig. He does not accept the situation gracefully but boasts that next time round, he will be able to kill the pig. In Lord of the Flies we find lack of discipline among all the characters. The ‘government’ of Ralph develops as a...
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