Elements of Postmodernism in Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo, Don Delillo's White Noise, Toni Morrison's Beloved and Thomas Pynchon's the Crying of Lot 49

6354 Words Jul 4th, 2013 26 Pages
Introduction

Postmodernism as a term and a philosophy represents a wide range of various concepts and ideas. Perhaps the central achievement of postmodernism is the "consideration of difference," an insistent attention to the local cultures and undervalued constituencies that modernism's exaltation of unity and grand narrative often obscured, which can easily be observed by reading and analyzing some of the most important works of American postmodern fiction. Works such as Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo, Don DeLillo's White Noise, Toni Morrison's Beloved and Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 are only a few of many which contain all or some of postmodernism's most distinguishable elements.

Throught these four novels one
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Mumbo Jumbo, Ishmael Reed

Mumbo Jumbo is according to the cover Ishmael Reed's “brilliantly satiric deconstruction of Western civilization, a racy and uproarious commentary on our society. In it, Reed mixes portraits of historical figures and fictional characters with sound bites on subjects ranging from ragtime to Greek philosophy.” It was written in the late 1960s and deals with the current cultural issues of the time. Set in 1920s New York City, the novel takes its plot from the struggles of "The Wallflower Order," an international conspiracy dedicated to monotheism and control, to contain the "Jes Grew" rapidly spreading disease that threatens the social order. This, as the author calls it, “anti-plague” actually liberates the body and opposes to “the straight-laced American cultural establishment because it causes people to eschew hard work for dancing, singing and the celebration of bodily existence.”[2] In these two opposing movements we observe a “confrontation of mind and body, consciousness and unconsciousness, regulation and liberation, power and resistance, thought and action, form and force.”[3] By putting nature ahead of order Reed wishes to emphasize the “stultifying tradition of the West”[4] and interrogate the grand American narrative, finding the cracks, and offering stories that both fill in those gaps and complicate the whole of

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