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Caitlin Sinclair

on 24 September 2013

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What defines a
postmodern text?

any novel from 1950 onwards
Novels that favor examination of the narrator's consciousness rather than external factors (meta narrative)
closely linked to Postmodern Psychology in the belief that our morals are affected greatly by the views of society that surrounds us
post modern texts aim to intrigue and sway the reader through characters they see themselves in
use of flawed narrators/fragmentation of narration

Enduring Love (Ian McEwan) uses meta narrative.
(The novel focuses mainly on
events that pertain to Jed Parry or occur as a result of Jed Parry)
readers involve themselves in postmodern texts as they are written in such a way that the reader sees themselves in the characters
this can be as simple as main characters in Enduring Love themselves being avid readers
Enduring Love uses a flawed narrator in Joe Rose
Developments in psychology post 1950
reflected in texts
Postmodern characters can easily be analysed by Freudian psychoanalysis -Id, Ego, Superego
there is a greater emphasis on why characters behave in they way they do
mental illness becomes a more common subject matter
We are a product of the culture that surrounds us
Jed Parry (Enduring Love):
shunned by everyone except the churchmen
surrounded mainly by religious men
becomes himself extremely religious, even though he was not brought up as a Christian
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - highly successful 1980's film
Main character Mac is driven insane by the asylum he is placed in
Postmodernism has been heavily influenced by the turmoil of the 60's to 80's:
racism/the civil rights movement
the cold war
Vietnam war
anti-war protests
anti-nuclear weapon movement
feminist movements
gay rights movements
debate of what it meant to be crazy or sane
An example of the racism prevailant at the start of postmodernism in the sixties can be seen in this clip from Girl, Interrupted. (Set in 60's America) 18 year old patient Susanna is indignant at how she has been treated by Nurse Valerie.
We can see from Val's demenour when she is being subjected to racial slurs from Susanna that she is used to dealing with such remarks.
In the current day Susanna's behaviour would be totally unacceptable.
In comparison, this clip from Silver Linings Playbook, set in 2012.
Discrimination against people with
mental illnesses/disabilities

This can be seen in both of the earlier
texts I studied

In Miloš Forman's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, patient Billy is in a mental hospital ward due to a nervous stutter. Although in the present day the idea of admiting someone to a Mental Hospital for a stutter, in the late fifties this was still a not uncommon practice.

In Girl, Interrupted (directed
by James Mangold) there are
several patients in Susanna's ward
whose actual need for such care is

Susanna herself, who is placed in the ward for 18 months for Borderline Personality disorder -
"Susanna: "Social contrariness and a generally pessimistic attitude are often observed." Well, that's me.
Lisa: That's everybody."
She is admitted by a psychiatrist who spoke to her for less than half an hour.

Cynthia: In Claymoore for being lesbian

The film draws attention to the lack of knowledge in comparison to the current day though the suicide of one
of the patients permitted to leave Claymoore

"by the 70s, most of them were
out, living lives"
In summary, the two main points I discussed:
Postmodern texts tend to focus more on internal conflicts and the mindset of their characters, and characters are written to be relatable to the reader.
Due to the turbulence of the time period earlier and later texts differ mainly in how they deal wih bigotry, especially in racism, and mental illness stigmatism.

The difference between these two clips shows the effectiveness of the civil rights movement, and how closely texts are linked to the attitudes of the society the author is living in.
Again this links to the postmodern approach to psychology of the beliefs of society strongly affecting an individual's belief

It is easy to see the difference between societal views on other races from the start of the timeperiod to the present, and so it can be said that Postmodern texts are the most diverse out of all the timeperiods when focusing on bigotry such as racism. This diversity is one of the reasons why I chose to look at the Postmodern timeperiod.
Diagnosed with BPD in 1968 and spent 18 months in Claymoore
also narcissistic, promiscuous, and depressed, but in 2012 not the 60's
Spent no time in a mental ward
The only
between the treatment of their mental illness is both were prescribed pills to manage it.
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