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american literature

1. A History of Puritanism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works. Hawthorne’s treatment of Puritanism. ( novel “Scarlet Letter”, short stories “Young Goodman Brown”)..
Puritanism - a trend of English Reformation. They regarded themselves as choosers. Their aim - to create a church stage, with their own rules. The concept of American identity was created by Puritans.Principles: Abstinence, ambition, pray, life was seen as a test, hard work, striving for success, opposition of all forms of entertainment. Sin will be punished - these were Puritans’ values. They believed in sin & guilt. They stressed the necessity of private property. Puritans’ cultural traditions became American. They stressed the importance of introspection & self-recognition (savianalize).The self-recognition formed the basis of all XIX & XX cent. A.L. Puritans were very intellectual. The emphasized the strive for knowledge, the importance of intellect &human mind, the separation of mind and emotions. New America became a Theme of N.Hawthorne ,most stories. The burden of the past were most of his themes, also the psychology of evil, individuals depravity, the problem of inherited evil. The author believed that the sin can be transformed from generation to generation. The author belonged to the period of Romanticism in A.L
His features:
a)the escape to exotic land
b) the descriptions of nature helps to reveal the inner character
c) didactic moralization
d) he doesn’t idealize the past
e) he blames puritans’ cruelty, an attempt to create a social cage of puritans.
f) sometimes he admires their courage
g) he is opposed to the fixities & divinities of life- he didn’t believe that there is no single answer to human existence , to explain what life is.
Puritanism & Transcendentalism were 2 basic movements in his period. They claimed to settle the answers on how to live. He was aware of complexity, of human character. He refuses to give one single interpretation of his stories. Hawthorne’s works are marked by allegory and symbolism. All Romantic writers of America were didactic, they wanted to teach. Reading should be a moral activity. The reader should make his own decisions. He thinks that evil lurks in each individual& the factors of life show it, but not always. The psychology of evil - most famous theme of Hawthorne works. He expressed the contrast between good &evil with the help of symbols. Good always wins at the end in his short stories.
True life begins when the heart is touched, he says. Events in his works take place in XVII cent. A social demand & individual express the problem of the stories. Human nature is naturally imperfect. Many of his characters have evil in themselves. A man has to see the side of goodness. N.H. was of puritans descend.
“Young Goodman Brown”. This work is dealt with ethical problems of sin, punishment and atonement. Also, this writing dealt with the religious beliefs he held as well as he questioned. A young Goodman, a puritan, leaves his wife for the three- month journey to the forest, to meet with a mysterious figure deep in the forest. He meets a similar man (The Devil) and they traveled together. The purpose of their journey is to join in un specified but obviously unholy ritual. They meet a woman (who taught him catechism) and more people of the town (good Christians). He saw these people before. When he comes to the forest, he finds an altar of rocks where people are scarified (Witches’Sabath- raganu puota). Puritans used to burn witches. He has a vision that his wife is participating there. He has many doubts. The inner conflict: between good and evil; actually between his wish to go there or not. Two impulses: evil triumphs in his mind. What lessons of life does he learn? Human nature is evil. He changes when he comes back. Puritans is shown as hypocritical. Evil is latent, dominant and takes priority against good. People carry evil and don’t even know about it, only circumstances show it. According to N.H., evil is inborn, inherent. The story is an allegory - characters show the ideas. The journey isn’t a dream. His wife became aware of other people’s sinful nature. Goodman was evil himself. He lost his faith. The narrator suggests that the experience might have been a dream, but he is deeply shaken. One possible moral of the story pertains not so much to Young Goodman Brown’s encounter with evil, but rather the way he personally deals with his dream\experience. Ever since then, he believes what he remembers about what happened in the forest and he does not trust anyone in the village, not even his wife.There are images and symbols: pink ribbon that are found in Faith’s Cup.They are a link between two beliefs of Faith, they connect her to the woman who stands at the devil’s baptismal font and the pink suggests that she is this innocent woman. The name “Young” symbolizes that the character is naive and new at life. “Goodman” suggests that he is self righteous by thinking that he is a good man.” Brown” indicates that he is a commoner.
.The Scarlet Letter (1850) is a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, considered to be his “magnum opus” and most famous work. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

2. Transcendentalism. Ralph Emerson’s essayv”Self-Reliance”. Henry David Thoreau”s philosophical treatise “Walden, or Life in the Woods”,
Transcendentalism- religion & philosophical, Romantic movement at the age of 18 cent.It was another important trend after Puritanism. T.was opposed to P.Transcendentalism came into being 1840-1844 (its peak).It was formed in Boston, New England. It united people of genteel background (intellectuals, well-educated, graduates from Harward mostly.M.Fuller (” Woman in 19 cent”- work; “The Dial”-published newspaper) was a representative of the T., Raplph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau.Transcendentalists stressed the role of meditation, introspection, self-analysis. American literature is based on this main principles.
the importance of intuition was stressed in understanding of world mind.(zmones suvokia neapciuopiamus daiktus) and claimes that individual understands transcendental phenomenon with his inner life.
Reason, spirit, mind &soul. (zmones suvokia pasauli vidine sviesa, intuicija).
In their world God is not a dogma that punishes, but a small piece that everyone carries within himself
Man is not evil, he is good by nature, only he has to reveal
Spiritual growth and development
Believed that human nature isn’t corrupt, it can be improved by nurture&self-culture
Believed in the possibilities of direct, spiritual experience. Human nature is inherently divine.
Valued spiritual experience rather than religious life.
Stressed individual freedom, importance of social equality, spiritual development.
A world is in one with God. God exists everywhere
Encouraged the pantheism (tikejo jog Dievas yra pasaulis ir vienas).
T. has a very great influence to literature. Genres: non-fictional prose, lyrical poetry. “Artist is a prophet”.(This idea was taken by many national American poets).T. stressed that an artist must be genius. T.culture derives from Emerson’s self-reliance. Human nature is encouraged to trust himself.” Man is not made for society; it’s society that is created for man”. Self-Reliance and Pragmatism were 2 major doctrines in America. Emerson felt that there is a huge disproportion of life. He believed that good is positive and evil is private. Nature and intuition was very important for T.T. has a big influence on later epochs. Stress on individualism, self -reliance: it was a central doctrine of T.Fuller, Emerson, Thoreau were head of T. movement in America.
Emerson belonged to Romantic Movement in the USA. He became notorious, encouraged people to become individualists - a new national vision. He stressed the use of personal experience and not just blindly obey the rules (intuity, spiritual experience).Was concerned with many social reforms: the abolition of slavery. His ideas seemed dangerous by older generation. He was against moral relativism (there are no absolute values, they depend on the angle you look at them).So, he was against this attitude. He thought that they existed. The communion of individual’s soul and over-soul of which it was a part. Over-soul is the creator. This universal over-soul is understood as the soul of Creator. Emerson held that intuition was more certain way of knowing the soul that mind.But he didn’t deny the role of the mind either. A human mind was a power of understanding about the existence of some absolute truths.He was a leading philosopher, writer and speaker. He was a pastor in Harward’s Divinity school, but later he resigned the pulpit.He accused the church as acting if God was dead. Emerson said “if you want to change the world, start with yourself”.He thought that the really great individual had a true spirit and he could change other people’s thinking, he didn’t think that a civilization was a big achievement. Emerson’s the most important essay is S\R publishe in 1841.Main principles of the essay:
A man should trust himself
Imitation of suicide (Imitationis the ruin of our mind.Imitations is stifling of a personality. The only sacred thing is the law of our heart).
Integrity of our mind.
Family should not abstract the development of his personality. They cannot stand on your way. A person’s life should be unigue. The relation among family members: females should be supported but they shouldn’t stand in the way of his own if they want to suppress his talent, genius.
People are authors of their own lives.”My life is for itself and not for a spectacle”.
The enemies of S\R were conformity (panašumas, atitikimas)&consistency (nuoseklumas, logiškumas; pastovumas ) (you never change the way of life).If you confirm, you will never be self-reliant. If you are consistent you aren’t open to a variety of ideas& opinions. Only in solitude a amn can meet with God&himself.In nature esp.he offered not to worship the past. Encouraged to live in present in nature., not to postpone your life.
He calls a prayer in church, a false prayer .Because it shows you are not happy with your life,because you ask smth.He thought a man prays while working. By hard-working he worships the Creator.He said “traveling is a fool’s paradise”.he thought that traveling dispels the mind.emerson wasn’t against traveling itself, he thought that while traveling, he only thought that while traveling people try to escape themselves. Self-reliance became a conviction of Am.way of thinking&life.
In his essay S\R, civilization is deprived from many good things. A man has created a watch, but a human being forgot how to tell the time by the Sun. In every epoch he saw man’s downfall, because as he saw it, the majority people had false purposes and seek material things .he divided people into materialists&idealists (inspiration, intuition, thinking).Thought can never be bribed. He was a didactic author, a moralizer. Generally, health can’t bring happiness, but he thought if you share your wealth it can bring you happiness. The world is nothing - a human being is everything. According to him, one thinking man is more important than a crowd. Emerson ionizes man’s desire to rule. They are people who devoted all their time to accumulate material things. He said that material world is appearance, therefore we should be concerned. Emerson liked Thoreau’s encourages man to ego to his home. The home is nature.
The unifying idea: envy in ignorance and imitation is suicide.
T. as Puritans stressed the role of meditation, self analysis, introspection in human’s life- all American literature is based on their principles.
Thoreau’s “The life in the Woods” (1854) is about self discovery. The classics of American literature. It is the result of 2 days, 2 months and 2 years.1845-1847 - he lived in the cabin, in order to prove how little a human being needs to survive.He followed his own principles, managed to survive by very little money. Economy- basic principle of the people life.The books consists of such chapters: Economy, Reading, Sounds, Visitors, Higher Laws, The laws of nature and etc.At the end we read about meditation. The book about self-discovery. The method- constructation, meditation. The book is bound on 2 facts:
he wanted to prove how little a human being needs to survive
some critics believe that it is a long philosophical essay
In this book, we get to know with the seasons as they are. A book can be called a classical idea for a good life. It is a very meditative book; the author was very much influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism. It has an immense influence on other writers. In the book there are transcendental ideas:
a) Ecological consciousness;
b) Autoritarism;
c) Political theory of civil-disobedience, passive resistance;
d) Encouragement to practice simplicity is all spheres of life.
Plot and Character Character is more important than action and plot; complex ethical choices are often the subject. Characters appear in the real complexity of temperament and motive; they are in explicable relation to nature, to each other, to their social class, to their own past. Humans control their destinies; characters act on their environment rather than simply reacting to it. Renders reality closely and in comprehensive detail. Selective presentation of reality with an emphasis on verisimilitude, even at the expense of a well-made plot. Events will usually be plausible. Realistic novels avoid the sensational, dramatic elements of naturalistic novels and romances. Class is important; the novel has traditionally served the interests and aspirations of an insurgent middle class.

3. Other Important Aspects Interior or psychological realism is a variant form. Realism of James and Twain critically acclaimed in the twentieth century; Howellsian realism fell into disfavor as part of an early twentieth century rebellion against the “genteel tradition.”
Interpretation and Analysis Realism is viewed as a realization of democracy. The morality of Realism is intrinsic, integral, relativistic - relations between people and society are explored. Realists were pragmatic, relativistic, democratic and experimental. The purpose of writing is to instruct and to entertain.
Structure of Prose Diction is the natural vernacular, not heightened or poetic; tone may be comic, satiric, or matter-of-fact. The use of symbolism is controlled and limited; the realists depend more on the use of images. Objectivity in presentation becomes increasingly important: overt authorial comments or intrusions diminish as the century progresses.

4. The Modernist Movement in American Literature. Gertrude Stein’s modernistic innovations in the novel “Three Lives”. T.S.Eliot’s return to Tradition. Modernism appeared in Germany.The Gothic style. !890 - 3 decades of the 20th cent. There were writers who wrote in 5-6 decades of the 20th cent.Writers: J.Joyce, V.Woolf, Elliot, G.Stein, Sh. Anderson. Modernism is a result of transformation of society which was brought about with the modern technology. Focused on:
a) a crisis of rationalism
b)human conditions
a)stream of consciousness technique (based on 3 associations)
b)inner monologue
c) the point of view technique
Textual writing:
Fragmentation (texts are highly fragmented, linear narration; attempt to reflect on duality of personality).
Disjunction (looked back to the tradition and past).
Language (artists foregrounde the language).
Moved from the meaning to the textual writing. Many refused punctuation. Used inversion. Said that realism is over, and you don’t have to think while writing.There is no open optimism.Regards as an elite art. British authors sought to express to reflect the social changes.
Gertrude Stein, as a modernist writer, she wanted to imitate the outer world to show how human mind operates. She uses repetition a lot for creating sudden rhythmic patterns, words that are repeated require opposite meaning, complex syntax, wrong grammar, violision of word order, the absorbed line, texture, rhythm.She took over non-framed reality. There can see no repetition in literature and life, because it is unique, she thought. He applied the technique of Cubism. Cubism (Picasso) -sharp geometrical form. Revealed the painter’s vision.Creates continuous present, it shows the accumulated past.Tried to convey the past of the present
.Tradition and Innovation in T.S.Eliot ’s “The Waste Land”: Allusions symbols and message.
. In Eliot’s “Wasteland”- the title refers to different symbols, allusion. The reader who reads his work has to know sth prior. The Wasteland- refers to modern civilization. It is based on allusions (to death, myths, Bible, literature of the past)..
Imagism (definition, chronological frames) in Modernist poetry. Ezra Pound’s poetry.
. Imagism a modernist trend in poetry that began to immerge at 19 c. it’s characterized on philosophy of entuitism- an intuition- the most reliable cognitive knowledge. The main features of Smagsim:1. Images against abstractions, clichés poetry; 2. Images poetry uses exact laconic word, new rhythms, usually are short.
E.Pound’s aim was to create new forms in literature. Other authors of imagism: Hilda Doolittle, A. Lowell, R. Aldington. E. Pound was the main representative. 3 images’ principles: 1. The direct treatment of poetic subjects; 2. Crimination of ornamental- unnecessary words and rhythmical compositions.
An image presents intellectual and emotional complex presented in an instant of time. Images advocated refusal, the simplicity of language was stressed. Image is unification. There is lot of emotions in Pound’s poetry, comparisons serves to create an image. By means of personification, comparisons, metaphors he creates images. E.Pound was also the innovator of translation. He spoke for revision of tradition, but this tradition should be reinterpreted. Latin, Greek - translations from these lang. the made free translations/ interpretations - This was casting of complete masks of the sell in each poem. Tradition. He was searching for his own face in other author’s faces. The lines of poetry were mere notations, concepts which can have lots of meanings. The reader should involve his/her own imagination to interpret it. Pound’s translations were creative works in their right, original works.

5. The Beat Generation’s philosophy in Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the road” and Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl”. The principles of spontaneous prose.

The Beat Literature and Beat Movement started at the II world war (1944-1966). The middle of XXc. was very important - cold war, vietnam war - flower children (beat literature) were against any war; progress in technology; sexual revolution; feminist movement; Martin; the emergence of previously marginal groups (ethnic minorities, woman). All these phenomenon created Counterculture. Counterculture was against the academic literature. The Beat Movement was directed against middle class morality, it was also a part of counterculture. It was a social & cultural phenomena.
The Beat M - reaction against American virtues & progress. They were against postwar values, criticized passivity of the age, because human was no longer the creator of his own life.
The Beat Generation involves: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady.
It shared an interest in spiritual liberation, honestly confess their deepest feelings. They attempted to get rid of guilt & shame. There were no tabu.
Beats used the views from their ordinary day in their writing, they never corrected their works. “The essentials of Spontaneous Prose”. Kerouac criticized writers who tried to correct their writing. It should be spontaneous in his opinion. The Beats redefined sanity - we compare sanity with the sense the justice. In order to be sane you have to separate yourself from society. The used “madness” ( drugs, mad pace of living) against hipocracy. Wild form of writing - raso apsiuostes narkotiku. There is no gap between experience & present generation ; what you feel & what you see.
There are nine “essentials” principles of spontaneous prose according to Kerouac:
1-Set Up The object is set before the mind.
2-Procedure “[S]ketching language is undisturbed flow from the mind of personal secret idea-words, blowing (as per jazz musician) on subject of image.”
3-Method No periods…no false colons…no timid usually needless commas…but the space dash– yes to that.
4-Scoping “Blow as deep as you want– write as deeply, fish as far down as you want, satisfy yourself first…” (It’s not surprising to note that Kerouac born on March 12 is a Pisces.)
5-Lag In Procedure “No pause to think of proper word but the infantile pileup of scatalogical buildup words till satisfaction is gained…”
6-Timing “Nothing is muddy that runs in time and to laws of time.”
7-Center of Interest Don’t start with any preconceived ideas. “[W]rite outwards swimming in the sea of language to peripheral release and exhaustion– Do not afterthink…”
8-Structure of Work “Modern bizarre structures (science fiction, etc.) arise from language being dead…Follow roughly outlines in out-fanning movement over subject…”
9-Mental State “If possible write ‘without consciousness’ in semitrance…”
All forms of censorship- they were against. They were experimentators ( the rhythm of jazz music), passivists. Long sentences mixed with the short one- resemble length of intervals of music, they didn’t try to imitate existing forms, they criticized old forms.
J.Kerouac “On the Road”
Life as a road - the main idea of the novel. Short plotted story. Main characters- Sal Paradise & Neal Cassady.
They traveled all over America & Mexico, meeting friends, taking drugs, making sex with different partners, steeling cars, living a happy, enjoyable life. A mad way of life - they protested against sanity, against traditional life. Life in burning as a candle. Sal is against passivity, against flowing as it should be.
The novel is written in colloquial style. The most important word - dig- enjoy, get satisfaction. Neal wanted to dig everything, which follows the meaning - enjoy. The aim of life by beatniks is to achieve “it”. By it they meant spiritual (nirvana) self discipline, self control helped to achieve this, also jog, drugs, listening to jazz music, driving at great speed, stealing cars. The wholly man is described as he who has “it”, by Kerouac.
Man’s spiritual qualities have effect on physical world. The novel ends with the world’s nobody knows what is going to happen to anybody.

Allen Ginsberg
He proclaimed the mixture of art and life. There should be no distinction what we know and what we write down. Formal literature is different from ordinary life. The movement starts with individual thought, that’s why his literature is individualistic & universal in the same time. Human consciousness is infinite, only modern individual was pressed to his knowledge. Fear, guilt, shame - obstacles to self-realization. To search how dreams come into being, to release the considerness, seek for visionary impulse. In his poetry - to transmit human potential, he tried to widen the area of consciousness, to open the doors of perception, to continue to send messages to the reader who is receptive.
“Desire simply to be”- existing, mad living, was a value as it is. He criticized the growing mechanization of society, stressed transcendentalism. He explained that “Howl” is an experiment how long lines could be done. Long sentences contain the patterns of thinking. His principles resemble those of Kerouac. He criticizes the materialism of generation.
Literature suggests the pattern of life which you can choose. A poet is a prophet (pranasas) in Ginsberg’s opinion. His poems should be viewed as social protests. Many of his poems are dedicated to the friends of his beat generation. The lines in his poem are the same as in jazz music rhythm. He uses a lot of slang, you can’t feel any destruction, cause a part of stating facts & life he shows that there exist some better order of things; so there is alternative of better order.
“Howl”. It is a cultural document of 1950 of Beat Generation. It’s very autobiographical. It can be called Jeremiad - usually a poem that laments (aprauda) over smth. Harangue - a long angry speech.
The poem is written in a flow of thoughts. A mind is sharply, it has some kind of shape. It consists of 3 parts and is dedicated to his friend Carl Solomon. In the II part Moloch is a symbol. It symbolizes an evil. In mythology it is a god of fire to whom parents sacrifice their children.
In the I part he describes the minds of his generation who destroyed themselves by doing mad things and then enumeration follows.
In the II part “Moloch” can refer to all material things, prison. It can also be the governing society. Moloch can also refer to a mental prison, where brain washing is done. It states the rules how a person should live. The whole 2 part is like a warning. The author criticizes the fact that those material things simply take priority. The warning ends up with committing a suicide. The poem is the reflection & counterculture. It is very educational; it shows the pattern of that time of generation.
In the III part states that his friend Carl Salomon is in mad house - Rockland, because he had 12 secretaries. Rockland can also refer to the whole America, whole society as mad.
The suppress core in human, so there is hope that sth will change.

6. The Theatre of the Absurd’ is a term coined by the critic Martin Esslin for the work of a number of playwrights, mostly written in the 1950s and 1960s. The term is derived from an essay by the French philosopher Albert Camus. In his ‘Myth of Sisyphus’, written in 1942, he first defined the human situation as basically meaningless and absurd. The ‘absurd’ plays by Samuel Beckett, Arthur Adamov, Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet, Harold Pinter and others all share the view that man is inhabiting a universe with which he is out of key. Its meaning is decipherable and his place within it is without purpose. He is bewildered, troubled and obscurely threatened.
The origins of the Theatre of the Absurd are rooted in the avant-garde experiments in art of the 1920s and 1930s. At the same time, it was undoubtedly strongly influenced by the traumatic experience of the horrors of the Second World War, which showed the total impermanence of any values, shook the validity of any conventions and highlighted the precariousness of human life and its fundamental meaninglessness and arbitrariness. The trauma of living from 1945 under threat of nuclear annihilation also seems to have been an important factor in the rise of the new theatre.At the same time, the Theatre of the Absurd also seems to have been a reaction to the disappearance of the religious dimension form contemporary life. The Absurd Theatre can be seen as an attempt to restore the importance of myth and ritual to our age, by making man aware of the ultimate realities of his condition, by instilling in him again the lost sense of cosmic wonder and primeval anguish. The Absurd Theatre hopes to achieve this by shocking man out of an existence that has become trite, mechanical and complacent. It is felt that there is mystical experience in confronting the limits of human condition.

7. The school of “New Journalism”. Fact and fiction in Truman Capote’s novel “In cold Blood”. Truman Capote combined journalism & belles-lettres in his work “In cold blood” ( acts and fiction is mixed). Formal journalists were the first non-fiction writers, they wrote non-registered events but reflections. They record some events, the writer registers the events & doesn’t comment them, and he arranges them in the consequence so that the reader can decide the arrangement. Non-fiction novel has heterogeneous structure, i.e. author incorporate facts from newspapers, specialist’s research. T.Capote started to accumulate the material before the events. He looked Tv news, interviewed neighbours, a few other criminals to get into murder’s mentality. The author presents objective picture of murder, but he doesn’t directly states his opinion, however, the message is implied by skillfully arrangement of events.Techniques used in non-fiction novel:1. Sticking to reality, real events. 2. An extensive use of dialogues. 3. Naturalistic description of
character’s manners, clothes. T.Capote was interested in the theme of evil, psychology of multiple crimes. Believed that human’s heart doesn’t change and that evil is inherent. He strengthens the reality in the novel. He reminds the compassion to the readers and uses words from XVc. “In cold blood”. Main characters: Peter & Dick - made murders for nothing (money, jealous-they say). Dick emphasizes pathology-he is calm after the murder (kisses his mum, sits to have supper). He feels sympathetic to his victims; he covers them with blanket, puts pillow. The novel deals with real people, events. In Cold Blood is divided into four sections, each presented like a vignette: “The Last To See Them Alive,” “Persons Unknown,” “Answer,” and “The Corner.” Each of the chapters are written like short stories within the main story, each presenting a different scene or setting than the previous chapter. He himself interviewed the criminals-seen in the book. Three names of parts are like phrases used by criminals. He uses several journalism techniques:
Interview (school teacher tells when he found dead people)
Observation (present visual picture-description of local people)
He did a research to give facts. He didn’t divide his characters into positive and negative, he tries to understand their mentality. The crime was evoked by social facts, their biological instincts. They’re social failures, enable to show their skills. Dick is from stable family, he’s intelligent but had no money to go to college, and this caused his dislike to rich people. He’s timid, shy boy. He felt good only with a tool in his hand. Dick doesn’t realize he did smth wrong. In the last part “The corner”, Capote says he’s not guilty. Against capital punishment-Perry.

8. The Postmodern phenomenon in Literature. John Barth’s stories “Lost in the Funhouse” and “Life-story”. Postmodernism appeared in the middle of the 20cent.The term was explained and described in France, in the middle and the second half of 20cent. is marked with postmodern experiments. It is mass consumer society. It is very broad phenomenon. Today postmodernism signifies the development of philosophical thought. Most prominent philosopher Nietze. The metaphorical death of god (all absolute moral values).Nietze laid ground for post modern philosophy. Trully Postmodern human is not oriented into inner values. P. marks the condition of individual and society. It signifies artistic activity. All these spheres are very much interrelated.Postmodern philosophical thought.Post modernism is opposed to all meta-narrative.Meta-narrative is a narrative about a narrative - the rejection of all metanarratives. Metanarrative tends to eplain all theories (marksism, feminism).It pretends to explain all points all the spheres of life through it philosophy. According to postmodern philosophers life is too complex to be enframed into one theory. Age of Enlightment were typical with metanarratives.Postmodernists opposed it, they were against the Enlightment. Instead of metanarratives there are many local truths. Perspectivism and relativism appeared.P.has many limitations. Every person has its own truth. There are not stable moral values. They change, they are relative- rejection of universal knowledge. All the knowledge is context bound. Different people gain different knowledge about one and the same thing. It truths out that everything is allowed in postmodernism, because everybody is right. It only depends how good you can manipulate the words .Changed attitude to a human being. It was believed previously that humans are stable and have inborn sin. Now it was rejected. Person seen as changing, not stable.History and society split.Truth are explained as human constructs. There is no moral universal values.They are understood as sth created by human and that they are given for granted. Human being is seen as being at a loss.He looses his inner guide, all foundation. He attempts to create his own values that would give meaning to his existence.The metaphorical death of individual. Individual is not context bound. There is no reality beyond language and the human mind. It is created and expressed in discourse (language used in certain context).Reality is created by language. Discourses create subject, object and regimes. Social institutions have the power to form individuals’ identity. Impose certain way of thinking, unable to choose and make decisions. Foucault speaks about creating a new individual, able to make decisions and free. American literature individual is created as weak uncreative is uncreative, with no power of choice, dependent on those who constructed him. He is melted into mass consumer society. It is believed that the knowledge that person gains cannot be separated from the world he lives in.People and societies are treated as differences. Jean Lyotard says that truth is creation, formed by many discourses “To speak is to participate in a language game which is based on certain rules”. Its aim to create new social relations.Postmodern society is split, no united.This encourages an appearance of a new man-Proteus-ever changing, in constant process of becoming and changing.All this ideas influenced and literature as well.Postmodern American novel formed in the 6th decade of 20th century.Some literary critics traces the beginning of postmodern novel in the romanticism. P. experiment with forms, language creation, refusal of traditions.It is sometimes is viewed as 3rd stage of modernism.P. literature is marked with the sign of the inhalation. We cannot use the old words to convey a new thought. Contemporary writer can only create a new form of literary text-form, structure, etc. P.marks the state of individual of 6th decade.Knowledge is always content bound rejection of absolute truth. There are local truths instead rejection of the metanarrative (narrative that explains everything, one truth).Postmodern society is mass-consumer society. Truth is explained as human construct.Human being is at a loss.P. is both continuation and break of modern tradition. P. as Romanticism is opposed to the rationalism. P.literature is opposed to realist literature.It rejects the mimetic representation of reality. Rejects chronological sequence, psychological depth (characters are flat).The narrator is author’s alter ego. John Barth
In his collection of highly metafictional short stories “Lost in the Funhouse” (1968). Barth explores the self-consciousness of the artist - a postmodern writer and an individual at the end of the 20th cent.He demonstrates the ways self-consciousness affects the process of writing, a writer’s and individual’s self awareness and self creation.Barth reveals the ties between the writer’s creative work and his self-creation, art and life, love and art. In the book the author develops the theme of human identity, breaks with traditional style characteristic of the literature of realism, that is, its tangible plot lines, clear themes and problems of the work, (psychological) characterization.Here Barth conveys his aesthetic views and an attitude to the condition of literature and art in the 2nd half of the 2oth cent. In the stories he employs forms of “exhausted”literature, the artist’s “paralyzing self-consciousness”, and thus tries to make sth new and valid.The writer returns to the sources of creation - he uses ancient myths, recreates the legend of St. Ambrose, applies the forms of oral narration and reading aloud which were widespread in ancient times and the Mid.Ages, Barth creates self-reflective and self-conscious stories, stresses the reader’s as co author’s role in the process of reading. The main character and the narrator of “Lost in the Funhouse” is Ambrose who retells his journey to the Ocean City from the teenager’s point of view.He is writing the story at an older age.Funhouse is a place of distorted mirrors. He remains there alone.He feels betrayed, scared, confused. He gets lost in the Funhouse, and is frightened there. Funhouse stands as a symbol of Ambroses inner state, his spiritual domain.An also stands for a physical space.Ambroses reflections and attempts to understand himself and the world, to build his own “self”parallel the artist’s creative effort in his attempt to overcome his identity crisis and a crisis of art and create a new work.In the book Barth stresses the individual’s solipsistic thinking-the theory that the self is the only thing that can be known to exist, that the only reality is one’s individual consciousness - characteristic of postmodern art and society. The prevailing theme of the stories is funhouse as a metaphor of man’s life and creative work. The funhouse symbolizes a construction of individual’s intellect and imagination. It conveys his split consciousness and portrays his existence as the Funhouse labyrinths, its distorting mirrors, secluded corridors and door apertures.Barth’s created labyrinth of art and life, his futile effort to know it and find an exit convey the contemporary individual’s ontological insecurity, feeling of uncertainty, search for individual voice, attempt to justify his existence.He addresses the reader as if seeking his recognition, wants to make sure whether he, a writer and a man, really exist. The writer encourages the reader to think. Ambrose tells his life story, reflects and comments on it, and thus reveals the process of his identity construction.

9. Afro-American Literature. The image of a Black Woman in Toni Morrison’s novella “Sula”or “Beloved”. . There is a woman centered in her novels, that’s why she is called feminist writer. She encouraged people to remember, to learn how to live with it (that you are black) in order to liberate yourself. She creates a stereotype with portrait of black people, her woman aren’t dissipated, obedient things, but self-searching, intelligent, self- confident persons as seen as in “Sula”. There are 2 main characters in the novel-Nel&Sula. Sula hints at self-creation rather that having a child. Themes: of black identity, racisms, black woman’s identity, good versus evil, black racism. Sula embodies everything that is evil. She behaves free, that’s those societies disgusted her. After she slept with men, she trashed them as rubbish, and this infuriated people. Blacks are also showed as racists, some of them. Sula’s character is very controversial. She doesn’t want to depend on anybody, she sees her mother burning, but she just watches. She’s friendly, humorous. She can’t be framed in any kind of people, it is very different to judge what kind of people she is (what is this evil). Sula dies of eternal disease at the end..The biggest disgrace for black w. was to sleep with black man. Different point of view are used to cause objective view of slavery, it’s difficult to judge for the reader who is speaking. Black people were kept illiterate. They did not know their rights.Themes:Poverty and Hopelessness.

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