Twentieth Century Literature: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach ILS 2010 Final Exam example

Haven't found the essay you need?

We can write it for you. On time. 100% original.

Order Now
Text Preview

Twentieth Century Literature: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach ILS 2010 Final Exam

Part I

Literature serves multiple functions in society and elicits a variety of reactions from its readers. At the surface, it captures one’s attention with a promise of entertaining or amusing the reader. However, upon closer critical analysis, a text can begin to take on a more revelatory, discursive and sometimes, subversive role. A critical reading, which situates a text in its socio-historical background, and makes use of different lenses or theoretical approaches in order to posit the significance or implications of a text yields a more nuanced understanding not only of the text, but also of the people, attitudes, culture, and history of society at the time.

An example of a literary text that embodies the author’s personal views or experiences and reflects societal behavior is the novella entitled Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. The protagonist’s transformation into “horrible vermin” is an extended metaphor for alienation from society. Kafka uses a surreal event (the transmogrification) to convey a very human and real experience: being alienated, made to feel worthless and undesirable, and being treated as an unwanted burden. This represents the experience of being seen and treated as the Other – which is the classification for anyone who deviates from society’s norms. The story shows how the Other is regarded as foreign and unnatural, so that instead of being treated with respect and understanding, he is merely tolerated or ignored. Although Gregor’s family don’t actively try to harm him, they do end up maltreating him as they fail to understand and address his actual needs, as shown in this line from the text: “‘I'd like to eat something’, said Gregor anxiously, ‘but not anything like they're eating. They do feed themselves. And here I am, dying!’" (Kafka). In the story, the protagonist’s sister, Grete, said: "we can't carry on like this… I don't want to call this monster my brother, all I can say is: we have to try and get rid of it. We've done all that's humanly possible to look after it and be patient, I don't think anyone could accuse us of doing anything wrong” (Kafka). This line from the Metamorphosis reveals how people tend to treat what they don’t know with neglect and forced or superficial tolerance but not actual compassion nor understanding.

Similarly, the poem “Outcast” reflects the struggles of a person who feels alienated from his own culture and identity because of the oppressive nature and influences of colonial rule. The persona depicts his “native clime” as “dim regions” and “darkness”, thus mimicking the racist imperialistic perspective of the West (McKay). This highlights the underlying notion, the West held: that they were superior and countries like Jamaica were barbaric, uncivilized and therefore inferior. The poem conveys the identity crises that people from colonized countries constantly struggle with. Despite their desire to reclaim their heritage, to “go back to darkness and peace”, it has become impossible to achieve completely because of the influence and effect of years …

Download Full Essay Show full preview


Examples provided by Homework Lab are intended for the motivation and research purposes only. Do not submit any paper as your own piece of work. Every essay example belongs to students, who hold the copyright for the written content. Please, mind that the samples have been submitted to the Turnitin before and may show plagiarism in case of the repeated submission. Homework Lab does not bear any responsibility for the unauthorized submission of the examples.