Mr Wong Tong

Topics: Bright Young Things, Modernism, Evelyn Waugh Pages: 3 (931 words) Published: December 1, 2012
Explore Waugh and Elliot’s view of the modern world in the two extracts.

Whilst both these works are considered modernist texts to varying degrees, the depiction of the modern world and in essence the “unreal city” varies greatly. Post and prelapsarian worlds coexist with each other through a traverse array of facades and the distorting viewpoint of the privileged, along with other incoherent modernist viewpoints.

Whilst Elliot’s depiction of the modern world is a barren, almost post apocalyptical wasteland, ‘Vile Bodies’ explores it in a less exaggerated sense. The pace of the lives of these ‘Bright Young Things’ along with their pronounced sense of ‘Ennui’ is emphatic of their acute disconnection with the world in which they inhabit. Planes, cars, airships, are key elements of depicting modernism as explored by Andy Webb in his ‘Literature of the modern world module’. These aforementioned methods of transport feature heavily in the novel and indeed this extract, whilst the concept of a stable home is notably absent. Exemplifying how the prelapsarian facade is expressed through the superficial ideal of a glamorous lifestyle, in an effort to blot out the reality of the postlapsarian world, which is referred to in a clearer manner in ‘The Fire Sermon’.

However whilst the apocalyptic scene that is cultivated in Elliot’s work appears dark and “barren”, it becomes apparent that elements of the societies parties had existed with the “cigarette ends” and “other testimonies of summer nights” being referred to. Furthermore the “loitering heirs of city directors”, and “nymphs” being departed, is suggestive and not dissimilar to the constant movement of the ‘Bright Young Things’, thus one could consider that the thoughts possessed by the respective writers are not as disparate as originally thought and have just been expressed in contrasting manners.

The differing expressions adopted by the respective writers in order to articulate their beliefs on the modern...
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