Modernism Versus Postmodernism

Topics: Postmodernism, Low culture, Modernism Pages: 3 (918 words) Published: November 28, 2012
Modernism vs. Postmodernism

Post-modernism follows and shares many of the same ideas as modernism. Though, at the same time, they differ in many ways. These distinctions can be seen in the two works of literature, “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller and “Glengarry Glen Ross” by David Mamet.

“Death of a Salesman” represents the modernist literature. Modernism is a style of literature that came about after World War I in Europe. It emerged in the United States in the late 1920s. Modernism was the response to the commotion, which occurred during World War I. The narrator in the play is limited and omniscient; he or she observes the thoughts and actions of Willy, Biff, and other central characters in the story, a type of narration that was new to literature. Instead of writing literature objectively, many authors started to use a subjective writing style. Miller captures this in the character of Willy. The readers are able to see the world through the eyes of this one character and what is going on inside of his head in many instances such as when he imagines seeing his brother and says “Ben, I’ve go to talk to you.”

The idea of rejection of tradition but trying to find answers is one of the central themes throughout the play. The setting is captured around the American Dream. Willy, like the rest of men around him, only wish to have a perfect job to provide for a perfect family in a perfect home. Though, Willy’s job, family, and home are nowhere near perfect. Throughout the story, Willy struggles to live up to this materialistic society but is unable to and this is what leads to his downfall. Throughout the story he is looking for an answer, and he believes the answer is if he dies, his son, Biff, will be successful and rich. This leads to Willie’s death.

Miller also shows the clear distinction between high and low popular culture. High culture, being the elite, and low culture, being the one’s less well off. It is evident there...
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