Essay on 20th Century English Literature

647 Words Jan 24th, 2012 3 Pages
May 3, 2011
British Literature II
Defining Literary Techniques of 20th Century English Literature
During the 20th Century, much advancement and change occurred throughout English Literature. All of the works we studied from this period were heavily influenced by current events in the world. The writers all examined the world around them and tried to express it through their writings. The three things that weave a common thread throughout all 20th Century English Literature are global warfare, radical artistic experimentation, and the effects of colonial expansion.
The first point of global warfare is an easily identifiable and widespread one. All of the poetry we examined was centered around warfare and the effects of it on those
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It also uses magical realism as another form of artistic experimentation. In “The Moment Before the Gun Went Off,” the author Nadine Gordimer caught some flak for experimenting in her literature by writing it about racism rather than focusing on the more feminist issues of the day, as were the norm. She also wrote this story from several viewpoints, wanting to enable the reader to understand the full scope of apartheid. One more literary experiment she incorporated was foreshadowing the twist ending subtly throughout the entire story. Radical literary experimentation was a big part of 20th Century English Literature.
Lastly, the colonial expansion theme is perhaps the easiest and broadest similarity to pick up on. Each story we studied is set in and has the culture of a foreign land. Usually this land was one from England’s massive colonial empire, but not always. Take “The Day They Burned the Books” by Jean Rhys for example. This story being set in the Caribbean clearly shows a foreign setting. They way the natives rebel in the story also brings out the oppressive nature of colonialism and how they struggled against it. “Walker Brother’s Cowboy” by Alice Munro is set in depression era Canada and shows how the people struggled with the effects of colonialism even during the Great Depression. The third defining feature is possibly the greatest one of 20th Century English Literature.
In conclusion, the…