How to Read Postmodern Literature

Modernist literature is often very confusing to readers. Postmodernism does not get any easier! There are blurry lines between Modernism and Postmodernism; but there are a few tips that will enable you (without looking at dates) to tell the differences between them. Read on to learn them.

Reject the Victorian standards. In most cases, the postmodern poem will not rhyme. It will not speak longingly of lost love in exact terms. Most certainly it will not follow a logical order.

Create chaos. The modernists took the written word and made it reflect the chaotic world around them. As I like to tell my students, "We split the atom, the center of everything, and in so doing we created chaos. The Contemporary Poets reflect this chaos." Postmodern literature does the same thing.

Pick out the fragments. Out of the chaos, the modernists and the postmodernists pull fragments of life around them. They then leave it to the reader to put these fragments back together.

Psychoanalyze everything. With the arrival of Sigmund Freud on the scene, poets turned to psychoanalysis to explain everything. The inner workings of the individual mind and of the collective world around them became rich fodder for all forms of art, especially literature.

Distinguish the difference between Modernist Literature and Postmodern Literature. The biggest key to unlocking the difference between these two periods is that Postmodern Literature celebrates the chaos, while Modernist Literature mourns the loss of a coherent world.

Discover. The Postmodern poet and author discovers new worlds and uses a new arrangement of words to convey the new world. I challenge you to look a little further today at your world through the eyes of the postmodernist.

  • Postmodern Literature rarely has closure. The author intentionally leaves the work open to the readers interpretation.
  • Don't let yourself think in traditional ways when reading Postmodern literature. You have to be open to the experience and it will make sense!
Items you will need
A Postmodern work
Critical Thinking
Ability to think abstractly
Photo Credits
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