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Postmodernism! What, What! Essay

1649 words - 7 pages

How do The Bluest Eye and The Color Purple relate to the postmodernist era they were written in?
Postmodern writings, like any other time in literature, have certain characteristics that make them unique. Just as romanticism loves nature and death, postmodernism has things it values as well, such as parody and black humor. From World War II to present, postmodern literature has been dominate in the world. Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye are both postmodern texts and are defined thought the way they play with the diction, and parody, switch narrative elements and a divide in the social culture.
The characters portrayed in Alice Walker's The Color Purple are mainly uneducated and use askewed language that is unique to the characters portrayed; in other words, Walker plays with the language. When the narrators stepson is asking for advice about how to make his wife listen to him, he is told "Well how you spect to make her mind? Wives is like children. You have to let 'em know who got the upper hand. Nothing can do that better than a good sound beating" (Walker 42). The words that are used when Mr.___ speaks are uneducated, and postmodernist writers liked to manipulate the words that are spoken by their characters to enhance the character's personalities. In this instance, because he is a black man, he is stupid and uneducated in societies eyes and that is how his words such as "spect" portray him. On another occasion, Shrug, who is the mistress of Celie's husband, is trying to apologize for how she acted when first meeting Celie. For example she uses very bad grammar such as "I treated you so mean. Like you was a servant[...]"(Walker 117). From this way of speaking Shrug is seen as an uneducated black women like most of the characters are. Her spech pattern in writing gives the reader a picture in their head that cannot be described in mere words, forcing the reader to use past experiences to bring about a picture of someone who would talk like that. Postmodern writers use different diction techniques like these illustrated above to be different and to portray a well-formed character.
Postmodernism works of literature rely on parody as well. The Color Purple is an example of a parody of the Slave Diaries that were written by slaves after the abolition of slavery. The story of Celie and her friends is in the format of letters to God, and then in letters to and from her sister (1-295 Walker). Celie's letters to God mimic those that the slaves had written. This is because slaves were forced to covert to Christianity, and therefore would direct their thoughts toward a Christian God in hopes of being set free. This type of parody does not take away from the seriousness of Celie's story but it does mock the validity of the Slave Diaries. Another instance of the parodying of the Slave Diaries is that the narrator is being beaten and oppressed by someone and she is privately trying to...

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