Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut: Postmodernism

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Slaughterhouse Five -Kurt Vonnegut

Postmodernism, the subject of several debates is the totality of philosophical, political, social, cultural and artistic phenomena of the post-World War II period. It is considered to be a radical break with classical modernism, but can also be seen as the continuation and development of modernist ideas. The term ‘postmodernism’, ‘postmodern’ and ‘postmodernity’ are often used interchangeably to refer to social and cultural changes after World war II, but these changes are not always synchronized in different areas. That is the reason why the terms ‘postmodern’ and ‘postmodernity’ are often used for general developments, the term ‘postmodernism’ being reserved for developments in culture and arts. (Selden, …show more content…

Some historians and theoreticians consider the year 1941, when both Virginia Woolf and James Joyce died, for the start of postmodernism. The II World War, its consequences and afferent phenomena – the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Holocaust, the bombing of Dresden, the beginning of the Cold War, postcolonialism and the civil right movement, might have played a key role in the development of postmodernism. Other possible events which marked the beginnings of postmodernism in literature are the publications of some significant works such as: John Hawkes’ ‘The Cannibal’ in 1949 or the first performance of Samuel Becketts’ ‘Waiting for Godot’ in 1953. Most probably all these events had an important role in shaping the major features of this …show more content…

These are the: “avant-garde, modern, and postmodern” (265). In this categorization, the postmodern is “playful, paratactical and deconstructionist” and it carries the “irreverent spirit of the avant-garde”, while still being “far less aversive to the pop, electronic society of which it is part, and so hospitable to kitsch” (265).
Based on these statements Hassan provides a list of schematic difference between modernism and postmodernism as a start for further inquiry. A few of these differences between modern and postmodern are: form (closed) - antiform (open), purpose- play, hierarchy- anarchy, presence-absence, boundary –intertext, selection-combination, reading- misreading. As Hassan himself points it out, there can be exceptions and inversions in both modernism and postmodernism, still there is a postmodern tendency which he calls the tendency of indetermanence.

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