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Modernism 1900-1945 Loss of the American Dream Prior to Modernism, Americans all believed in the American Dream. Three central themes to the American Dream: 1. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Modernism

  • 1900-1945

Loss of the American Dream
  • Prior to Modernism, Americans all believed in the
    American Dream.
  • Three central themes to the American Dream
  • 1. America is a new Eden a beautiful.
    bountiful, and rewarding land.
  • 2. Optimism in the Future future holds
    abundance and opportunity
  • 3. Importance of Individual every person has
    is important, and should be independent and

Loss of the American Dream
  • During the Modern era, the American Dream seemed
    lost. Events occurred that made the Dream seem
    unreachable. People became disillusioned in
    happily ever after.

Historical Background
  • Modern period took place during and after WWI,
    1929 market crash, the Dust Bowl and the Great
  • WWI 1914-1918 First time Americans face a
    bloodbath war. Beginning of the end of innocence
    for Americans.
  • Prohibition 1919 amendment prohibited
    manufacture/sale of alcohol.
  • Alcohol was thought to be central social evil.

Background cont.
  • 1929 Stock Market Crash Economic destruction
    that spread to a global level.
  • Plunged the US and the rest of the world into the
    Great Depression. Many businesses went bankrupt
    and suicide was at an all time high
  •  Great Depression Millions of Americans
    suffered loss of jobs, poverty similar to third
    world poverty, starvation, and loss of material

Background Cont.
  •  The Dust Bowl of the 1930s lasted for eight
    years dust blew on the southern plains. It came
    in a yellowish-brown haze from the South and in
    rolling walls of black from the North. The
    simplest acts of life breathing, eating a meal,
    taking a walk were no longer simple. Children
    wore dust masks to and from school, women hung
    wet sheets over windows in a futile attempt to
    stop the dirt, farmers watched helplessly as
    their crops blew away.

Breakdown of Beliefs And Traditions
  • Trends Writing
  • Post-War writers became skeptical of New England
    Puritan tradition and ideas/philosophies.
  • Previously, writers were from the North. During
    this era, most were from the South, Midwest, or
  • With the breakdown of traditional beliefs and
    traditions, two movements came about
  • Marxism and Psychoanalysis

  • Marxism beginning of Socialism and Communism
  • Psychoanalysis new field of psychology that was
    pioneered by Sigmund Freud. The workings of the
    unconscious mind, human sexuality, and anxiety
    about how much freedom a person really has.
  • Psychoanalysis led to Stream of Consciousness
    writing style that imitates moment-by-moment flow
    of a characters perceptions and memories

  • Themes in Writing
  • Disillusionment is a major theme in writings of
    this time period.
  • Self examination and dissatisfaction with self
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of faith in government/authority
  • Self-Reliance is a continuing theme self
    reliance in the face of disillusionment of
    government/ authority

Hemingway Hero and Code
  • The principal ideals are honor, courage, and
    endurance in a life of stress, misfortune, and
    pain. Often in Hemingway's stories, the hero's
    world is violent and disorderly moreover, the
    violence and disorder seem to win.
  • The Hemingway Hero act honorably in the midst of
    what will be a losing battle. In doing so he
    finds fulfillment he becomes a man or proves his
    manhood and his worth.

Hemingway Hero and Code
  • Belief in the self and such qualities of decency,
    bravery, competence, and skill as one can summon.
    Important to recognize and snatch up the rare,
    good, rich moments that life offers, before those
    moments elude us.

Harlem Renaissance
  • MacDougald, Elise. Two School Teachers.
  • 1. Harlem Renaissance is the name given to the
    period from the end of World War I and through
    the middle of the 1930s Depression, during which
    a group of talented African-American writers
    produced a sizable body of literature in the four
    prominent genres of poetry, fiction, drama, and
  •  2. The notion of "twoness" , a divided awareness
    of one's identity, was introduced by W.E.B. Du
    Bois, one of the founders of the National
    Association for the Advancement of Colored People

  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Johnson, William. Street Life.
  • 3. Common themes alienation, marginality, the
    use of folk material, the use of the blues
    tradition, the problems of writing for an elite
  • 4. HR was more than just a literary movement it
    included racial consciousness, "the back to
    Africa" movement led by Marcus Garvey, racial
    integration, the explosion of music particularly
    jazz, spirituals and blues, painting, dramatic
    revues, and others.

  • Reuben, Paul. Chapter 9 Harlem Renaissance -
    A Brief Introduction.
  • PAL Perspectives in American Literature - A
    Research and Reference Guide - An Ongoing
    Project. 02 November 2011. Web. 27 November
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