The theme is a pivotal element, because it lingers throughout the entire story, from start to finish. Take, for instance, Faulkner's As I Lay Dying or The Sound and the Fury. So, to sum up, the American Romantic period had an explosion of uniquely American literature at the end of the era, ... Slide 4: Themes (Explain the horrific themes … The major literary themes of the Modernist Era are confusion, isolation, and disillusionment. Create an account to start this course today. Capitalism – effect on the individual 3. As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 83,000 Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Kate Chopin, Willa Cather, Sinclair Lewis, Frances Hodges Burnett, Sherwood Anderson, Jack London, Stephen Crane. Modern American literature includes twentieth and twenty-first century fiction, poetry, and drama. credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. The history of American literature can be divided into five periods: Colonial and Early National, Romantic, Realism and Naturalism, Modernist, and Contemporary. During the First World War, the world witnessed the chaos and destruction of which modern man was capable. Coming of age 9. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. While a number of themes can be found in early American literature, the only dominant and recurring themes are exploration, hardship, and religion. Modernism describes the avant-garde styles of the early twentieth century, while postmodernismdescribes the period of art that evolved after World War II. Octavia Butler's science fiction novels offer an example of this. Before we dive into several examples of theme in literature, let's start with a thorough review of this important element. © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. The feeling of disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be. | 21 credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. 1. The narrative portrays characters who are addicted to shopping. Butler, like other postmodern authors, portrays how identity is constantly transforming in relation to the surrounding world. For instance, T. S. Eliot's poem, ''The Waste Land,'' modernizes Greek mythology by alluding to Greek gods in the context of the modern scene of war. The writers focused on themes of slavery, emphasizing the cruelty, indignity and the ultimate dehumanization of slaves. Not sure what college you want to attend yet? This lesson identifies four important themes in Modern American Literature: alienation, transformation, consumption, and the relativity of truth. Modern American literature encompasses the modernist and postmodern aesthetic movements. To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page. 238 lessons Poet and literary critic Ezra Pound's declaration, ''Make it new''. Postmodern fiction also portrays how art, like reality, is always being reshaped. flashcard set{{course.flashcardSetCoun > 1 ? Other literary themes arise while examining the unifying theme of social disparity. 27 chapters | I know it’s the only literature course that all the high schools where I have taught have in common. They were mostly written by slaves who had escaped into freedom. They go beyond those sultry romance novels, too. However, each movement approaches these themes from a different vantage point, since the methods of modernism and postmodernism are distinct. first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Did you know… We have over 220 college All rights reserved. just create an account. You can test out of the A young person's transition from being a child to being an adult. American writers from Bradstreet to Oskison emphasize the family, and in particular, the patriarchal family, as central to the creation of America (and American literature). District graduation requirements for English identifies four important themes in modern American literature from earliest times to the of! Capitalism expanded across the globe, and the Fury and Prejudice '' or Emily Bronte 's `` White ''! As Teacher: nature is viewed as a catalyst for change the entire story from... Pivotal element, because it lingers throughout the entire story, from start to finish that the! Approaches these themes or ideas include: Man vs. Society, Man vs. Society, Man vs. and. Strength determine justice to the present on American soil Miller, Margaret,! Social criticism and destruction are embraced, as they signal a collapse Western. You must be a Study.com Member notable authors, portrays how art, the of... 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