Essay on A Light in the Darkness: Modernist Writing

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The modernist period was a time of change. After World War II many people found themselves unhappy, lonely, and depressed. With the groundbreaking influences of Karl Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche, many people began to question their own reality. What did it mean to exist? What was life, and what was death? The modernist author reflected this change, and confronted these questions with enthusiasm. Together modernist artists became the representative voice of the people. This voice transcended all forms of art, but was most successful in the written word. Through the experimentation of language and form, the modernist author managed to convey the meaninglessness felt by many, and created a light in the darkness of an uncertain world. Ernest …show more content…
Nietzsche was highly influential during the modernist period and believed that there was no point to life, that God did not exist, and believed that nothing outside our own reflections existed. This theory was highly influential during the modernist period because people could not come to terms with their own existence. The War had taken so many lives, that it seemed unjust for any God to allow such a thing to occur. People could not understand why some died and others did not. It was easier to believe in chaos, and random chance, then to believe in a destined world that would allow so many to be slaughtered at war. At one point in Hemingway's story, the older waiter recites the Lord's Prayer, but replaces every second word with "nada", meaning nothing. "It was all nothing, and man was nothing too." "It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanliness and order." (Ernest Hemingway, "A Clean Well-Lighted Place", pg 300) throughout the story every character faces this fact, except for the young waiter who has not yet seen the darkness shared by the elder waiter and old man.

The Waiters and the old man represent the three stages of life, youth, middle age, and old age. The young waiter is confident, impatient, ignorant, and has a young wife waiting for him at home. He is distracted by many things and does not yet fear the infinite darkness of life. The other waiter is older and does not have anything

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