Postmodernism in American Literature Essay

1390 Words Aug 16th, 2008 6 Pages
Postmodernism in American literature

The novel Beloved by Toni Morrison often makes us question the credibility of what is being told, and uses many striking, sudden shifts between the past and present, making it difficult to distinguish between reality and fiction. This blurring of the truth is a common element of postmodern fiction. In fact, many scholars would say that Beloved is a great example of postmodernism. (Ebrahimi 2005) Morrison uses this technique to bring about the suffering, growth, and resurrection of her characters, and abstractly, the entire black community. With the use of postmodern elements such as resurrection/reconstruction, self-reflection, and multi-narratives, Toni Morrison successfully develops the
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Therefore, it focuses on a vision of a contradictory, fragmented, ambiguous, indeterminate, unfinished, "jagged" world. ("An Introduction to Modernism & Postmodernism.")
Thus, postmodern fiction is a style of literature to represent a new age of questioning oneself and discovering the truth.

In Beloved, postmodern aspects are very prominent throughout the novel and are what give it its tone and uniqueness. In fact, Toni Morrison probably based much of how her novel was written off postmodern styles and characteristics. As stated earlier, postmodernism was a response to the chaos and inhumane acts from World War II, and the story in Beloved is based specifically after the end of slavery, symbolizing resurrection, or reconstruction, much like what was happening after WW II. Thus, resurrection, or reconstruction is a fundamental postmodern characteristic and is constantly expressed throughout the novel. The concept of resurrection is an ancient concept with many mythical/religious allusions. The comparison is too the mythical figure known as Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself for mankind. In Beloved, Sethe sacrifices her own child to save her from the cruelty of slavery. Eighteen years later, the baby is reincarnated through a young woman named Beloved, which is, ironically, the name on…