Title of Abstract

Moving Through the Twentieth Century Literary Spectrum: Brave New World and Catcher in the Rye’s Rejection of Metanarratives

Submitting Student(s)

Beth WarnkenFollow

Session Title

Humanities: Emotions of Humanity within Literature

Faculty Mentor

Casey Cothran, Ph.D.; cothranc@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

English

Faculty Mentor

Casey Cothran, Ph.D.

Abstract

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye have had an elusive way of defying categorization since their respective publications in 1932 and 1951. Many scholars have tried to firmly place these novels within a modernist or postmodernist box; however, many discrepancies have arisen over which period either novel may land. I argue that these novels, through their mourning of the loss of innocence and questioning of societal metanarratives, belong to both modernism and postmodernism. These novels’ rejection of groupthink and culturally upheld ideologies is represented a by plots of an individual pitted against society, such as John versus the Reservation and Brave New World and Holden versus prep school. Both novels also contain critiques of American consumerism, through Fordism in Brave New World and Holden’s attempt to participate in Louis Althusser’s concept of production theory to establish an alternate hegemony. Both Huxley and Salinger promote thought provoking art, through the feelies in Brave New World and Holden’s distaste for Hollywood in Catcher in the Rye. These main characters move from mourning their fall from innocence to embracing it throughout the novel. It is these characteristics in the novels that act as a reflection of the movements from the end of modernism to the beginning of postmodernism. By placing novels in both literary periods rather than attempting to isolate them into either period, one can uphold the concept that twentieth century literature can be located on a sort of spectrum that moves from modernism to postmodernism.

Additional Fields About Your Abstract

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Honors Thesis Committee

Casey Cothran, Ph.D.; Michael Lipscomb, Ph.D; Leslie Bickford, Ph.D; Dustin M. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Honors Thesis Committee

Casey Cothran, Ph.D.; Michael Lipscomb, Ph.D; Leslie Bickford, Ph.D; Dustin M. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Course Assignment

HONR 450H - Cothran & HONR 451H - Lipscomb

Start Date

16-4-2021 2:45 PM

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Apr 16th, 2:45 PM

Moving Through the Twentieth Century Literary Spectrum: Brave New World and Catcher in the Rye’s Rejection of Metanarratives

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye have had an elusive way of defying categorization since their respective publications in 1932 and 1951. Many scholars have tried to firmly place these novels within a modernist or postmodernist box; however, many discrepancies have arisen over which period either novel may land. I argue that these novels, through their mourning of the loss of innocence and questioning of societal metanarratives, belong to both modernism and postmodernism. These novels’ rejection of groupthink and culturally upheld ideologies is represented a by plots of an individual pitted against society, such as John versus the Reservation and Brave New World and Holden versus prep school. Both novels also contain critiques of American consumerism, through Fordism in Brave New World and Holden’s attempt to participate in Louis Althusser’s concept of production theory to establish an alternate hegemony. Both Huxley and Salinger promote thought provoking art, through the feelies in Brave New World and Holden’s distaste for Hollywood in Catcher in the Rye. These main characters move from mourning their fall from innocence to embracing it throughout the novel. It is these characteristics in the novels that act as a reflection of the movements from the end of modernism to the beginning of postmodernism. By placing novels in both literary periods rather than attempting to isolate them into either period, one can uphold the concept that twentieth century literature can be located on a sort of spectrum that moves from modernism to postmodernism.