Art in the modern world

Trimis la data: 2015-09-27 Materia: Engleza Nivel: Liceu Pagini: 3 Nota: / 10 Downloads: 0
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Modern art can either bring unity and coherence into a fragmented modern world by introducing something that other human institutions fail to do, or it can present tragedy and suffering in an unforgiving light, adding more confusion to the situation. Modernist writers like W.H. Auden seemed to try to uphold the idea that works of art can and should provide unity, coherence, and meaning. Yet, with the evolvement of modernism in the 1930s and 1940s, Dylan Thomas tended to present tragic situations in his poems, often giving way to more disjoint and uncertainty.

As major figures in the progressive modernization of literature, both Auden and Thomas moved away from apparent objectivity, a theme once standardized by previous literary figures, and toward subjectivity. While other writers of the era conveyed modern ideas in form and style, such as William Faulkner's multiple narrators and stream-of-consciousness format displayed in The Sound and Fury, Thomas and Auden radiated modern thought through their ideas and subject matter.

Both Thomas's "The Hunchback in the Park" and Auden's "Musee des Beaux Arts" send a clear message to the reader that art can exist in the modern world; however, for each poet, it exists in two entirely different manners. For Thomas, modern art moves away from plain objectivity and towards impressionism and subjectivity, often leaving the reader engrossed in confusion and disjoint. In contrast, Auden's idea of art in the modern world surfaces as an attempt to bring unity and coherence into an otherwise fragmented, suffering modern world.

It is all too common for modern literary works from the 1930s and 1940s to exude human suffering, and Thomas's "The Hunchback in the Park" is no different. Thomas opens a window into one man's world, letting the reader get a glimpse of a hunchback's daily life living chained in a park. Thomas describes the hunchback as, "... a solitary mister...drinking water from the chained cup that the children filled with gravel...(he) slept at night in a dog kennel..." (lines 2-9).

The children, perhaps unknowing of the anguish they exact, relentlessly make a mockery of the hunchback. Thomas writes, "And Mister they called Hey mister the truant boys from the town running when he had heard them clearly on out of sound past lake and rockery laughing when he shook his paper hunchbacked in mockery...dodging the park keeper" (lines 15-23). The tragic cycle never relents - each day is the same as the last, one dreadful day of suffering followed by another - making his existence one of absurdity.

Indeed, nighttime, even though it functions as a lull in the hunchback's otherwise continual war with society and allows him temporary escape, represents an even worse form of suffering for the hunchback - an absurd teasing. Each day nature teases him into thinking he can gain an unattainable freedom. Granted, when the lights go out and the park is closed he does gain momentary autonomy, but each morning he is condemned to face more misery.

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