Perspectives on Realism, Modernism, and Postmodernism

 

Perspective

Realism

Modernism

Postmodernism

Point of View Unified point of view (resolves contradiction) Multiple and contradictory points of view Multiple views
Narrative Discourse Objectivity; omniscience Subjectivity; relativism Subjectivity; relativism (pluralism?)
Implementation of Discourse Hierarchy of discourse—image as truth Hierarchy of discourse—art/implied author generates meaning Anarchy of discourses—even “weighting”; play; language & narrative questioned—art too is meaningless
Narrative Strategy Narrative privileged Narrative (mythic) Anti-narrative
Importance of Style

Effacement of style:

story > genre and style

Foregrounding of style: exploring of genres and the medium Style, genre, medium foregrounded, sometimes jumbled, and critiqued
Grounding of Genre Illusionism (mimesis) Abstraction; design Chance; Formlessness
Plot Development Static, objective, logical and coherent space-time relations; chronological Dynamic, subjective and symbolic use of space and time; achronological Dynamic, subjective and symbolic use of space and time; achronological 
Central Images in Text Character centered Psychology > events Allegory > character
Resolution of Conflict Closure: resolution of enigmas, social integration More open; resolution at level of mythic meaning Open: closure—even mythic—ironized
Treatment of Themes Traditional themes and images Some non-traditional themes and symbols Traditional and non-traditional; pop culture borrowings
Connection with Reader Promotes identification Disrupts identification; promotes critical distance (often through critical parody) Plays with identification and distance (pastiche or camp vs. critical distance through parody)
Pleasure Principle Sustains pleasure through “sense” and commonsense Disrupts pleasure through “difficulty” and non-sense, critique of commonsense Sustains pleasure, but may question it; sense and non-sense; some critique of commonsense
Depiction of Mass Culture May critique mass culture Critiques mass culture Celebrates mass culture?
Appeal to Mass Culture Form shared by mass culture Elite form largely unshared by mass culture Form shared by mass culture
 

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