Postmodernism; Does It Apply? Discusses postmodernism; what it is and reflects whether Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues can be considered postmodern.

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Postmodernism; Does It Apply?

The definition for postmodernism is not an easy one to reach. Partly because we haven't yet been able to stand far enough away from it to give it a definition that would universally apply because we are living in the 'post-modern' period. For that very reason, no consistent definition can be found. The term applies to a variety of things. Applied first to architecture, it now encompasses areas from film, to clothing, to cuisine, and literary, philosophical, theological, and other theories.

Postmodernism's intent is to get one to think of things in a new way--to explore the world outside the confines of daily existence and see things for how they really are. Especially in North America, it is often associated, by both supporters and critics, with positions of extreme relativism and self-contradictory denials of the possibility of truth and knowledge. The word postmodern describes something that people reasonably fear, the denial of truth, meaning, and sense.

"In our society, knowledge has tended to equal disillusionment, and any affirmation of belief must therefore be made in the very teeth of disbelief" (Lehman). Therefore, in order to create something new, and yet believable, it must be based in irony, parody, pastiche, irreverence, and generic conventions, all of which are characteristics of postmodernism (Stevens).

One author often spoken of as being postmodern is Sherman Alexie. Examining his novel "Reservation Blues," one can definitely see certain characteristics follow closely along post modernistic guidelines.

Following Father Arnold's sermon to the Catholics on the Spokane Indian Reservation, he collapsed from exhaustion and dreamed. In this dream, he was preaching to his congregation, trying to save their souls, but they were not listening. Entering the church, two people carried with them black boxes. These black boxes being present caused the Indians...