Presentation on theme: "Modernism 1900-1945. Loss of the American Dream Prior to Modernism, Americans all believed in the American Dream. Three central themes to the American."— Presentation transcript:
Loss of the American Dream Prior to Modernism, Americans all believed in the American Dream. Three central themes to the American Dream: 1. America is a new Eden – a beautiful. bountiful, and rewarding land. 2. Optimism in the Future – future holds abundance and opportunity 3. Importance of Individual – every person has is important, and should be independent and self-reliant
Loss of the American Dream During the Modern era, the American Dream seemed lost. Events occurred that made the Dream seem unreachable. People became disillusioned in happily ever after.
Historical Background Modern period took place during and after WWI, 1929 market crash, the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression WWI – 1914-1918 – First time Americans face a bloodbath war. Beginning of the end of innocence for Americans. Prohibition – 1919 amendment prohibited manufacture/sale of alcohol. Alcohol was thought to be central social evil.
Background cont. 1929 Stock Market Crash – Economic destruction that spread to a global level. Plunged the US and the rest of the world into the Great Depression. Many businesses went bankrupt and suicide was at an all time high Great Depression – Millions of Americans suffered loss of jobs, poverty similar to third world poverty, starvation, and loss of material items
Background Cont. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s lasted for eight years dust blew on the southern plains. It came in a yellowish-brown haze from the South and in rolling walls of black from the North. The simplest acts of life breathing, eating a meal, taking a walk were no longer simple. Children wore dust masks to and from school, women hung wet sheets over windows in a futile attempt to stop the dirt, farmers watched helplessly as their crops blew away.
Breakdown of Beliefs And Traditions Trends Writing Post-War writers became skeptical of New England Puritan tradition and ideas/philosophies. Previously, writers were from the North. During this era, most were from the South, Midwest, or West. With the breakdown of traditional beliefs and traditions, two movements came about: Marxism and Psychoanalysis
Trends Marxism – beginning of Socialism and Communism Psychoanalysis – new field of psychology that was pioneered by Sigmund Freud. The workings of the unconscious mind, human sexuality, and anxiety about how much freedom a person really has. Psychoanalysis led to Stream of Consciousness – writing style that imitates moment- by-moment flow of a characters perceptions and memories
Themes Themes in Writing Disillusionment is a major theme in writings of this time period. Self –examination and dissatisfaction with self Paralysis Loss of faith in government/authority Self-Reliance is a continuing theme – self reliance in the face of disillusionment of government/ authority
Hemingway Hero and Code The principal ideals are honor, courage, and endurance in a life of stress, misfortune, and pain. Often in Hemingway's stories, the hero's world is violent and disorderly; moreover, the violence and disorder seem to win. The Hemingway Hero act honorably in the midst of what will be a losing battle. In doing so he finds fulfillment: he becomes a man or proves his manhood and his worth.
Hemingway Hero and Code Belief in the self and such qualities of decency, bravery, competence, and skill as one can summon. Important to recognize and snatch up the rare, good, rich moments that life offers, before those moments elude us.
Harlem Renaissance MacDougald, Elise. Two School Teachers. 1. Harlem Renaissance is the name given to the period from the end of World War I and through the middle of the 1930s Depression, during which a group of talented African-American writers produced a sizable body of literature in the four prominent genres of poetry, fiction, drama, and essay. 2. The notion of "twoness", a divided awareness of one's identity, was introduced by W.E.B. Du Bois, one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Harlem Renaissance Johnson, William. Street Life. 3. Common themes: alienation, marginality, the use of folk material, the use of the blues tradition, the problems of writing for an elite audience. 4. HR was more than just a literary movement: it included racial consciousness, "the back to Africa" movement led by Marcus Garvey, racial integration, the explosion of music particularly jazz, spirituals and blues, painting, dramatic revues, and others.
Reuben, Paul. Chapter 9: Harlem Renaissance - A Brief Introduction. PAL: Perspectives in American Literature - A Research and Reference Guide - An Ongoing Project. 02 November 2011. Web. 27 November 2011.