The beginning of the twentieth century was a time filled with confusion and emotional turmoil.
The people of the time were coping with the major events that were going on in the world in the best ways that they knew how. However, the times were changing. Many of the modernists believed that the safety provided by religion, politics or society was no longer sufficient (Matterson 1). There were new inventions, ideas and philosophies that challenged the existing philosophical ideas. Signs of these changes can be seen throughout many modernist writers' works.
The most common theme in modernist literature is the change in the style of narration. Before the modernism was prominent, most poets wrote from the perspective of themselves, and discussed the observable world around themselves. The average modernist writer, however, created a character that turned their attention inwards. The technique, called stream of consciousness, This was likely a reaction to Sigmund Freud's theories on the psychosexual development (Matterson 1). A new world had been opened that allowed one to see within the minds. It invoked an obsession with figuring out the human mind and psyche. It also encouraged many artists and writers to try to find an understanding of the dark regions of the human psyche.
T. S. Eliot captures the idea of inward thought in his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The entire poem is about Prufrock's inner dialogue as he struggles against his own inner psyche. He spends the whole night trapped in his own thoughts, unable to overcome his own fear or anxiety of disrupting the status quo.
In Conrad's The Heart of Darkness, Marlow presents his thoughts abut the adventure that he
went on in the past. His refl...
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...one point that the cannibals showed an impressive amount of restraint. He thought they didn't actually need to show the restraint as they could easily overpower the few Europeans. The manager, the Russian and the pilgrims all show at some point that they have some secret agenda or motive.
When W. B. Yeats wrote September 1913, there was a large amount of civil unrest going on in Ireland. Some workers from a union go on strike. Roughly 400 protesters are injured and one was killed, which triggered some significant riots. The recurring phrase, “Romantic Ireland's dead and gone (Greenblatt )” shows that Yeats felt that the world was heading for ruin. He had noticed that the world was changing, and he thought that it was changing for the worse. Riots were breaking out in the streets, and the government was merely responding with violence instead of diplomacy.
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