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Postmodernism in American literature - Book Report/Review Example

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Postmodernism in American literature

Art Spiegelman's Maus: A Survivor's Tale is a graphic novel which is completed in thirteen years which gives an account of the struggle of novelist's father to survive the Holocaust as a Polish Jew. The novel is especially celebrated, among others, for its representation of history and violence in a postmodern style of narration and the novelist reduces the characters to the state of animals which literalizes the call for petits recits that is customary in postmodern discourse at present. The various themes of the graphic novel, especially the novelist's enunciation of the Holocaust which gives the book a meta-biographical feature, along with the other narrative features, illustrate the significant elements of a postmodern fiction. The 1966 novel In Cold Blood by Truman Capote spells out the carnage of Herbert Clutter, the wealthy farmer from Holcomb, his wife, and two children in 1959 and the plot intertwines the intricate psychological story of two parolees who join their hands in a gory massacre. The true value of this great work by Capote is evident in the fact that this ‘nonfiction novel’ cannot be ignored in any account of the ‘new’ American writing, especially the historiographic meta-fiction, of the 1960s and 70s and one may realize this novel as “a modern rewriting of the realistic novel – universalist in its assumptions and omniscient in its narrative technique.” (Hutcheon, 115) Therefore, Capote’s In Cold Blood and Spiegelman’s Maus offer two salient perspectives of a postmodern fiction in American literature and an analysis of these novels can provide one with an effective guide to the distinguishing features of postmodernism. This paper undertakes such a comparative analysis of the novels by Capote and Spiegelman in order to demonstrate some essential principles or concepts connected to postmodernism in American literature.
One of the most essential comparative elements in the prominent postmodernist novels by Capote and Spiegelman is the representation and nature of history in the two works which has unique implication for postmodern thought. The postmodern and poststructuralist thought are most often pigeonholed as merely negating history. However, one may realize it in a more authentic manner as extremely occupied with the more relevant question of how one understands one's relationship to the past. In the late twentieth-century thought as evident in the postmodern novels of Capote and Spiegelman et al, one discovers some more fundamental questions such as how one memorizes in history and what is rendered as history in the midst of an awareness about the implication of the images in mediating memory and history. Capote's In Cold Blood and Spiegelman's Maus present such a distinctive view of history and violence through significant images of history and specific narrative strategy, though there is vital difference in their representation of these themes. "If modernism believed the image of the past to be a trace of reality, a form through which the past ...Show more


Postmodernism is most celebrated movements in American literature and the novels of this category clearly reflect the cultural, intellectual, and artistic state of affairs and disillusionment that existed in the post World War II…
Author : ethelynhayes
Postmodernism in American literature essay example
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