Modernist literature makes the statement of non-traditionalism in its content and style. The modernist movement began in Europe and moved to the United States in the early twentieth century. The voices of modern idealism speak out against the conformity of the nineteenth century, and oppose class distinctions and lifestyles considered politically correct during this time. Religion and what it represents, no longer explicitly drive the content of modernist literature. The chaos created by WWI and WWII help press writers into independent thought and self awareness (Rahn). Modernists sometimes view life as being difficult, unfair and pessimistic, focusing on the darker side of life.
Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” follows the ideology associated with modernist views as it communicates the practically of the scene by its simplicity. Though he describes the woods as lovely, the modernist does not add any real sense of beauty nor does he interject any of his own personality about how he feels. He only states what is there, whereas romantics would describe the scene from an emotional view point, and elaborate on personal feelings such as how they felt about the neighbor whose woods these belonged. Frost’s poem, characteristic of Modernism, is written more from a literal perspective.
Although the narrator of the poem appears to be appreciative of the woods, and the beauty of the snow, he realizes it is not practical to stay any longer, perhaps to rest the horse or more importantly himself, but that he must continue on before any relaxation can be enjoyed and feels obligated to keep his promise. This is typical of the modernist view that life is thorny and sacrifices must be made. Some of this thought process is touched on a bit in the line “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep” (Frost 1347) as he references darkness. Another aspect of Modernism is the departure from narrating in the third person or having omniscient narrators. Modernist speaks in the first person or they speak with several different voices, and Frost poem does this by writing from a first person narrative.
Romanticism is a style of literature, art, and music common at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries that...