Modernism in Literature

Powerful Essays
The turn of the 20th century conveyed revolution in psychological, social, and philosophical thought. It was time for something neoteric. It was time to break out of the mundane tradition. This time of revolution conceded men, such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud, to rise to fame with their radical and cutting edge theories. Also, women were exasperated of their modeled roles in society. They sought to be independent, they longed to have the ability to vote, and most of all, they wanted legal equality. This time period also brought the renewal of European expansion. With new motivations, such as economic motivations, social imperialism, and the new theories of racial superiority, the British empire began concentrating on the colonization of Asia and Africa.

All change is not necessarily good, however. New thought processes led to the belief of superior races and people groups, which in part, caused World War I. People became cynical, people became evil, and people became destructive. Through the work of writers such as T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, and Joseph Conrad, modernism in literature shed light on the true nature of the heart of humanity.

With this newly incorporated view of humanity, a new theory emerged involving psychology and the behaviors of men and women. Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis. ("Sigmund Freud") Around the turn of the 20th century, Freud boldly claimed that humans entered the world as pleasure-seeking creatures. Through this claim, Freud ventured into the world of psychosexual development and eventually developed the theory of humans being irrational creatures. He believed that humans had the potential to do horrific things.

Man was corr...

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Yeats, William B. "The Second Coming." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th ed. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2006. 2402-403. Print.
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