Elements of Modernist Writing Essay

Elements of Modernist Writing Essay

Length: 966 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Catherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Bishop and William Carlos Williams were poets and writers of short fiction that belonged to the Modernist movement. The movement itself was triggered mostly by the industrial revolution and the horrors of World War I. It was an inter-continental movement and spread into all spheres and disciplines, such as art, philosophy, literature, architecture, music, culture and so on. During the movement of modernism, the individual moved into the spotlight, and it the human subjectivity and self-consciousness was themes around which most of the art and literary worked evolved. Modernist writers adopted the stream of consciousness; a literary technique used to describe the workings of the mind, and the ways in which thoughts and feelings combined to create a subjective reality. The brother of William James coined the term, and the technique was improved by Katherine Mansfield, but brought to perfection by Joyce. The most dominant Modernist movement in poetry was imagism and found new inspiration in the writings of Sappho, Catullus and Villon. Everything that was not written in that manner was intolerable. The imagists insisted on direct treatment of the subject and omitted every word that was unnecessary decorum. These three authors are representatives of the Modernist movement because their work contains all the elements of modernist writing: imagism, interior monologue, the need to explore the human condition and life in general.
Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish” and “This is Just to Say” are both imagist poems, which have an underlying Christian theme. In Christian religion, the fish is considered a symbol of Jesus Christ and in “This is Just to Say” reminds of the story of Eve eating the forbidden fruit. ...


... middle of paper ...


...a naughty twist to it. “The Fish” has a healing effect on the seemingly lost speaker, whereas the sneaky plum thief celebrates his little devilish deed. Even “The Garden Party” has a Christian theme, since it follows the love-thy-neighbor scheme. However, all three works are purely modernist works, whose major concern is the exploration of the human condition and self-consciousness.



Works Cited

Bishop, Elizabeth. “The Fish”. The Norton Anthology of Poetry. Gen. ed. Julia Reidhead. 5th
ed. New York: Norton, 2005. 1516-17. Print.
Mansfield, Catherine. “The Garden Party”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Gen.
ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. F. New York: Norton, 2012. 2346-56. Print.
Williams, Carlos William. “This is Just to Say”. The Norton Anthology of Poetry. Gen. ed.
Julia Reidhead. 5th ed. New York: Norton, 2005. 1274. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The American And British Modernist Writers Essay

- The days of man in a dinghy stranded in the open sea, contemplating on the “sacred cheese of life” came to an end (Crane 1774). Whereas the Naturalists painted over the Romantic pastoral landscapes with a gray hue of reality to unveil the truth of nature, the Modernists decided to view the external world from within the characters psyche. Both British and American writers, like T.S Eliot, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner, descended into the depths of the subconscious mind, into a whirlpool of fragmented thoughts and desires, creating a voice for the inner self....   [tags: Mind, Consciousness, Unconscious mind, Ezra Pound]

Better Essays
1426 words (4.1 pages)

James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds and Modernist Writing

- James Joyce's 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' and Flann O'Brien's 'At Swim-Two-Birds' and Modernist Writing The Twentieth Century found literature with a considerably different attitude and frame-of-mind than had the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Two hundred years is, of course, a long time to allow change within genres, but after the fairly gradual progression of the novel as a form, its change in the hands of modernism happened rapidly in comparison. Explaining how texts within the framework of modernist writing are “different” require laying out from what they are different, how, and why....   [tags: Joyce Portrait O'Brien Modernist Essays]

Better Essays
2433 words (7 pages)

The Aesthetic Innovations in a Modernist Context Essay

- William Faulkner, T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost all had an amazing ability to write and were at the forefront as literary authors of modernism which was not a period, but a faction, an attitude that focused on individualism, randomness of life, etc. Their writings were based on a worldly position that included most poets. They contributed intellectually to literature as well as made aesthetic innovations in a modernist context. Their uniqueness as authors set them apart from the average author of their day....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Better Essays
1461 words (4.2 pages)

T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and the Modernist Movement Essay examples

- Sight. It is the simple, yet extremely intricate skill performed by humans everyday. The uniqueness of an eye can be described as different combinations of colors that draw people in for deep conversations and contact with one another. As light shines its beams onto an eye, different colors sparkle, making beautiful shades shine through. Brown, green, blue and hazel are merely a few of the colors that can make up one’s eye. Without eyes, human beings would not be able to visualize the wonderful aspects of nature....   [tags: The Waste Land Essays]

Better Essays
2460 words (7 pages)

The Modernist Attributes of C.L.R. James’s Minty Alley Essay

- The Modernist Attributes of C.L.R. James’s Minty Alley Born in Trinidad and later expatriating himself first to London and then the United States, C.L.R. James was a key figure of the West Indian literary scene during the 1930s. Today he is primarily associated with his nonliterary writings in sociology and politics, and his fiction seems to have dropped from critical attention. Part of this shortsightedness stems from the fact that little of his fiction is readily available to a reading public in this country....   [tags: Gender Sexuality Modernism Essays]

Better Essays
4158 words (11.9 pages)

Gothic and Feminist Elements of The Yellow Wallpaper

- Gothic and Feminist Elements of The Yellow Wallpaper       Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" has been interpreted in many ways over the years. Modernist critics have applied depth psychology to the story and written about the symbolism of sexual repression in the nursery bars, the chained-down bed, and the wallpaper. Genre critics have discussed the story as an example of supernatural gothic fiction, in which a ghost actually haunts the narrator. But most importantly, feminist critics (re)discovered the story in the 1970s and interpreted it as a critique of a society that subjugated women into the role of wife and mother and repressed them so much that all they could ever...   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Better Essays
1497 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on Miss Modernism : Gertrude Stein : Miss Modernist

- Gertrude Stein: Miss Modernist In 1914, Gertrude Stein put together a collection of her poems in to the book Tender Buttons. Stein pours her experimental nature into this book combining everyday objects with adjectives that are not normally associated with them. This forces the reader to explore a different perspective on familiar objects and to read differently then they have become accustomed to reading. Stein’s goal is to break up the monotony of every day life by bringing back common objects that have been so familiarized to the common person....   [tags: Gertrude Stein, Modernist literature, Modernism]

Better Essays
1218 words (3.5 pages)

Katherine Mansfield's Modernist Innovations Essay

- The short story has invariably become regarded as a conservative form of literature given its often rigid, and basic plot dimensions focused on narrow plot and character development. However, with different writers come different experimentations within the short story. This is especially true with the modernism movement in mind. One modernist writer in particular, Katherine Mansfield, was indeed conscious of the possibilities that existed within the form of the short story as is evidenced in The Garden Party and Other Stories, Mansfield’s most prolific collection of short stories....   [tags: short story, modernism, women modernist]

Better Essays
1669 words (4.8 pages)

Elements of Poetry and Essay Writing

- I was surprised to find that I could use so many of the techniques that poets use in writing my own essays. For example, by choosing certain words, I can set the tone for the essay and demonstrate certain attitudes. Also, I can take advantage of several technical methods, such as abstractions, assonance, and figures of speech to make an essay more interesting. Further, I think it is important to try and understand the poets meaning behind their word choice. After analyzing the poems of John Donne, Anne Bradstreet, and Robert Frost, I will discuss how I think certain elements can be used in my own writing....   [tags: Education, Writing]

Free Essays
897 words (2.6 pages)

Modernist Literature Essay

- Modernism emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century, following World War I and flowing through the “roaring twenties.” Materialism, crime, depression, and change filled this era. Reflecting the revolutionary time period, modernism itself was a revolution of style. Musicians, artists, and writers broke away from traditional, conventional techniques to create new, rebellious art. Modernism, in other words, was a change in how artists represented the world in their works. Passionate, sporadic jazz music—referred to as “jungle music”—danced through the music scene....   [tags: Modernist Literature Essays]

Better Essays
2353 words (6.7 pages)