Summative Entry

Do the interests, concerns and experiences of writers in the 20th Century
assist 21st Century human beings in their understanding of the purpose
of existence?

Through the analysis of various literature and artworks shaped by the concerns and experiences of writers in the 20th century, I have reached the conclusion that these authors and artists have much to teach us in the 21st century about purpose and the understanding of existance. As the 20th century was highly influenced by the modernist movement which was concerned with expressing the human psyche, it is appropriate to state that these expressions can easily be applied to us today despite the changing nature of society.

The political fears expressed by George Orwell and the concept of the Orwellian backbone are still very relevent, possibly even more so today due to the nature of politics and the unsteady relationships between the governments of other countries and our own. The ways in which Orwell’s political ideas are present in today’s society can be seen in my blog post “Defense of the Indefensible” in which these ideas are discussed. The confronting nature of Picasso’s art is also highly relevent to our society today as we continuously strive to rebel against the decisions and confines of those who have come before us. Both Orwell and Picasso depict the fears and aspirations of their own time but their ideas and concepts, while changing, are still highly relevent in our society today.

While the art of the 20th Century was heavily influenced by war, the values held by those effected can teach us extensively about our purpose. Joseph Conrad and Virginia Woolfe explore the purposes of a writer and the importance of compelling readers to pause and reflect upon the world around them as well as having characters who are actually reflective of the human mind repectively. This is further explored in one of my favourite texts that we have examined this semester, All Quiet on the Western Front. Through the scene of Kat and Paul’s goose roasting, the importance of tiny moments that may seem insignificant and the deeper meaning they hold is communicated to readers in such a way that is highly meaningful to the 21st century readers. Check out my blog post about an experience similar to this in my life!

A primary aim I had this semester was to improve in my creative pieces and, using the messages about purpose and existance taught to us through the war poets and immigrant poets of the 20th century, I feel that I have acheived this. In my poem entitled Home, I explore what it means to have a home which conveys the feeling of displacment felt by many in the 20th century. I also used lines from Wilfred Owen’s poetry to write a modern war poem which focues on asylum seekers rather than soldiers. While the situation is vastly different, this is a perfect example of how the literature of the 20th century is still relevent today due to, not the events themselves, but the conclusions about existance and purpose formed as a result of this.

Finally, I explored the relevance of artistic Manifestos which are a direct reflection of the way of thinking at the time it is written. My experiences in the Art Gallery this semester enlightened me to the various ways of creating art and the purposes of the art. While Manifestos are constantly changing, the ideas behind them are still very relevent as society’s values are also constantly changing. New Manifestos are created to either build upon or rebel against previous Manifestos and what those Manifestos value and are concerned with.

Through the many different and multi-modal forms of art and literature that I have explored throughout the semester, it has become very clear to me that the writers of the 20th century have much to teach us about purpose and existance. Through their experiences, values and concerns, despite our differing situations, their undertstanding of the human psyche and the effects that their experiences have on them are very similar to the 21st century and important within our own lives. This unit, and these artists and authors, have taught me very much about my own purpose as well as encouraged me to write in a more meaningful and insightful way, I look foward to more discoveries in future units!

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