Postmodernism is a trend in literature believed to have emerged from the World War II. Postmodern literature is marked by the use of narrative techniques that includes Fragmentation, paradox, and finally unreliable narrator. The postmodern writings are viewed as reactions against thinking enlightenment and the approaches from modernist. Social classes emerged where persons that are good financially are in categories of their own. The social class maybe base on the income of an individual hence those with high income are on high social classes. Through class, there are a capitalist economy and social economy. Gender equality resulted from postmodernism where it is believed that both male and females are the same, and should have equal rights. The era of colonialism ended with the start of postmodernism and post-colonialism. Post-colonialism is where colonizer still influences the decisions of their colonies. Postmodernism is a common theme in the work of literature, as the following stories will illustrate.
“The other wife” by Sidonie .G
Postmodernism is brought out clearly by the work of this post-modern writer through the plot of her story. First we see women's hidden fear of independence when Ms. Colette, being very detailed on the system that make women to be submissive to the will of men. It shows gender inequality that in postmodernism is being fought, as all the genders are equal. "Alice chronicles an awkward but in these days not uncommon situation -- a new wife running into the woman who used to be married to her husband”. Alice is seen to envy Marc's ex-wife for being independent, the ex-wife is free, and she did not indulge any person. Alice is disturbed, but the other ex-wife is relaxed (Smith, 2010). It is a form of postmodernism as those who are in a marriage are expected to be submissive to their husband. They have to struggle to create equality for all genders where the feminine gender is not oppressed by the male dominance. The theme, of postmodernism, is brought out in such a manner that the female sex would love to be independent. They envy not to be indulged to any person as we see in the case of Alice “From that moment on, it is all Alice can do to avoid staring at the woman continuously”. The author of this story tried to pass across the theme of postmodernism where all the genders are independent. The topic of gender is a controversial in the current society hence it is worth for writer to write about it. Writing literature materials on controversial topics depicts form of postmodern literature. Theme of marriage and divorce is brought out when Marc insist that the previous marriage was not meant to work from the start “..total incompatibility” and they divorced "quickly, quickly," and there are no feelings left between them.
“The Body” by Clarice lispector
The fiction by Lispector is read a discourse of silence; it is ironic as it focuses on self-conscious remarks on the relationship that exist between language, human cognition and the reality of life. Through focus on the fictional issue, the story exemplifies the postmodernist literature. The use of silence by lispector in her work is a characterization of new writing that started immediately after world war two. In her major theme of self-realization through human impulse, Lispector is not able to separate language fiction. Critics like Ronald Barthes and others have conducted an investigation into lispector work and discovered that silence as a word novel has illustrated the theme this author is trying to address in her story (Lispector, 1989). Postmodernism literature by Lispector shows that the more somebody talks, the less they communicate “But when everyone in the house was quiet and seemed to have forgotten her, she plucked up a little of the courage left over from her great escape and perambulated the tile floor, her body moving behind her head, deliberate as in a field, while the little head betrayed her: moving, rapid and vibrant, with the ancient and by now mechanical terror of her species”. Silence brings out a preverbal state that is not contaminated, and hence it brings out what language would have done.
“Death of the tiger” by Rosario
Rosario in his story the Death of the tiger gives information on a culture that is upside down. The first persons to create this mess are the colonizer and later on by corporate entities and wealthy landowners. The theme brought out in his story is colonialism and post-colonialism in which some individuals were displaced from their ancestral land, and they become squatters ``How could a spirit possibly appear if the body belonged to an Indian, and not to a rational person?'' A proud native tribe and its protective spirit are exterminated by Spanish oligarchs and their descendants”. The men from this tribe were forced to sell their labor to the city while the women had to hide themselves as they wait to die (Castellanos, 1996). After the world war two, the theme of colonialism and exploitation was common among many authors. In the story, "The death of the tiger" postmodernism literature has clearly brought out through the author addressing issues that affect the social lives of individual in many countries. Rosario in his story has challenged social hierarchies and discriminations “A baby dies of hunger, yet the doctor who allows it to happen proclaims it a victory in getting Indians to understand the value of ``white'' medicine”. In his writing, he uses styles like humor and irony to mock social conventions.
“The Pyrotechnics” By Vs. Naipaul
The story has used postmodern literature as it tries to talk about the theme of human nature. Human beings are quick to judge other as in the story the community judge Morgan and thinks that he is actually crazy because he gives jokes that aren’t funny.”I thought that some time Morgan knew his jokes at time never came out and this made him to be miserable”. The community Morgan continues to make fun out of his character. “At time I wondered what is wrong with Morgan as people of his city are enjoying drinks and dance he is busy with his fireworks”. The community does not try to understand him instead they are quick to judge him as it is the nature of human beings.
"A happy man" By Naguib and Mahfouz
The happy man story uses postmodernism literature in the sense that the author uses irony to bring out the major theme of the story. The man in the story wakes up jubilant in one morning, which is contrary to usual habit of the man in the early mornings “The feeling was so clear and intense that it imposed itself in mind and sense, yes he was happy”. In other days, he would wake up with a headache for working late or drinking so much. In the previous day, he woke up frustrated with life difficulties. The author’s use of irony leaves us questioning whether the man was jubilant “If that was not happiness what is it then?” He uses postmodernism literature to explain the daily happenings in the lives of human. He goes further to use literary devices to bring out the theme of the story (Mahfouz, 2011). One can conclude that the piece of literature is postmodernist literature since from World War II the authors have been trying to write on stories affecting human life daily.
It is clear that after World War II, authors of stories developed new ways of writing their stories where at times they used fictional language, gender, human behavior, and politics as their major themes. This new writing styles that they adopted is called literature postmodernism. This style of writing revolves on topics that affect the survival of the human being. All postmodern writers discussed above have ensured that they have use postmodern literature to communicate their themes. By using postmodern literature, the ideas of authors are brought out well hence their works becomes more relevant to the readers.
Smith, S. (2010). THE WOMAN WARRIOR: MEMOIRS OF A GIRLHOOD AMONG GHOSTS. Exploration and Colonization, 235.
Lispector, C. (1989). Água viva. U of Minnesota Press.
Castellanos, R. (1996). Death of the tiger. Index on Censorship, 25(6), 116-123.
Nixon, R. (2009). Neoliberalism, slow violence, and the environmental picaresque. MFS Modern Fiction Studies, 55(3), 443-467.
Mahfouz, N. (2011). Khan Al-Khalili: A Novel. Random House LLC.