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Elements Of Modernism Essay

806 words - 4 pages

The years between World War I and World War II brought about vast changes in society. During this period the ideology of Communism was born, the assembly line was invented which provided for mass production of automobiles, women gained the right to vote, the stock market crashed and Great Depression occurred. People were questioning the old school of thought and new philosophies were born. New forms of art, music and literature emerged to reflect these changes in thought called modernism. William Faulkner's novel "As I Lay Dying" displays many elements of the modernist form in literature.
Fragmentation is a prevalent element of modernism in "As I Lay Dying". The novel is written as a ...view middle of the document...

Modernist literature abandoned objective truth. Truth is seen as relative to the individual. An example of individual experience present in "As I Lay Dying" is the question of is Anse sick or is he lazy. Anse truly believes he will die if he sweats and this belief is clearly stated in a passage by Darl, "He was sick once from working the sun when he was twenty-two years old, and he tells people that if he ever sweats, he will die. I suppose he believes it" (702). On the other hand, people often speak of helping Anse and his family, which is suggestive, that is lazy. Anse being thought of as lazy is indicated when Tull speaks to Anse about the corn, "I tell him again I will help him out if he gets into a tight, with her sick and all. Like most folks around here, I done holp him so much already I cant quit now" (708). This statement is suggestive that Anse has no problem with letting others do his work. Anse may not do physical labor, but that does not keep him from giving orders to others to do work. Truth is relative to the individual who presents an idea.
Another element of modernism is leaving the reader with questions instead of answers. The novel, "As I Lay Dying", leaves the reader with many questions. Unanswered questions make the story more in the present. Therefore, the author, by omitting the outcome of some of the...

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