Modernism in Literature Analytical Essay by Shaad

Modernism in Literature
A look at the evolution of modernist literature since T.S.Eliot's "The Wasteland".
# 116452 | 1,192 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2008 | BD
Published by on Sep 29, 2009 in English (Analysis) , Literature (General)

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This essay charts the rise of modernism in literature since the publication of T. S. Eliot's "The Wasteland". The paper looks at how Eliot's poem is unremittingly despairing in the continuance of the Western tradition of enlightenment and how it deconstructs all form and presents a mere collection of fragments from this tradition. However the literature that it inspires is not entirely meaningless, and comes to be described as modernist. It is applied mostly in novels, reflects the philosophy of existentialism, and uses narrative techniques such as "stream of consciousness". The paper also examines how, instead of rendering the artistic tradition meaningless, the poem portrays meaninglessness in modern society, and depicts the social alienation of the individual. Two modernist novels, Franz Kafka's "The Trial" and Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea", are also analyzed to illustrate this proposition.

From the Paper:

"The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway is also considered a modernist novel. Though more famed for his hard-edged realism, in this last effort before his death Hemingway has created a powerful parable of futility. Santiago is a Cuban fisherman who has met bad luck, having not caught a fish for 84 days. On the 85th day he becomes reckless and ventures further into the sea than anyone else before. He hooks a marlin of such tremendous size that it hauls Santiago and his boat around sea for and entire day. The old fisherman is soon locked in an epic battle of strength, guile and wits with the marlin, and expends every last bit of himself for over three days of struggle. Bloodied and drained, he has his catch in the end, which he begins to drag shoreward. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Chinitz, David. T.S. Eliot and the Cultural Divide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
  • Eliot, Thomas Stearns. The Waste Land and Other Poems. New York: Penguin Classics, 1998.
  • Federman, Raymond. Surfiction: Fiction Now and Tomorrow. Athens OH: Swallow Press, 1975.
  • Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
  • Kafka, Franz. The Trial. Trans. Willa Muir, Edwin Muir. New York: Schocken Books, 1995.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Modernism in Literature (2009, September 29) Retrieved August 18, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Modernism in Literature" 29 September 2009. Web. 18 August. 2022. <>