If one were to speak loosely about literary text, one could say that any piece of work written after the 1920’s should be considered modernist text. The Modern Era was one of experimentation. The self was more of a focus. No longer was nationalism and patriotism the only focus of authors and poets. The better of the country took a back seat to self-reflection and personal issues. The same characteristics plus many more can be found in the description of literature during the Harlem Renaissance Era.
If one paid close attention to the evolution of literature throughout the 20 th century it would be hard to ignore the effect of the Modern Era and all of its experimentation. It is to limiting however to label all of the text of the 20 th century modernist texts. In fact it is more fitting to call works such as Native Son, Invisible Man, John Henry Days, works of the Harlem Renaissance or post modernists text. Of course they contain the characteristics mentioned above, the text are more experimental then modernists text and are more concerned with the times than some of the Harlem Renaissance writers. The novel the Native Son was reflective of the times. The character of Bigger was a typical black male in society in the early portion of the 20 th Century.
Although Northern Europe had clung to its Gothic past much longer than Italy, by the early sixteenth century Northern artists began to be influenced by the Italian Renaissance through texts, prints, and direct exposure. Architecture, sculpture, and painting started to exhibit characteristics encompassing both local Gothic and classical elements. While campaigning in Italy, Francais I was ...
The focus of the novel was not self-reflection but societal reflection. Self-reflection is typical of modernist poetry but societal reflection is typical of postmodernist texts. The same societal reflection can be found in the novel Invisible Man. The main character was forced to find his identity in a society that hadn’t yet found a place or a label for him as an educated black man. It was cleverly fitting for the main character to be a man with no name (hence the title Invisible Man).
Society was not ready for this new type of black man.
The type of black man that was educated and ready for work other than that which was offered to black men at the time (i. e. chauffer, bus boy, etc. ).
Although Colson Whitehead’s John Henry Days was not written about the time period he was in at the time it held the same characteristics (as far as reflection is concerned) as the other novels mentioned above. The tale of a few people’s reactions to a legend or an old tale in the early 20 th century created a mirror image of society’s fixed notions and ideas on a few topics.
Although postmodernist texts are the hardest to classify because the styles and techniques vary so much, these three different yet similar texts are postmodernist texts.