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Difference between modernity, modernism and postmodernism

Clarify as best as you can, the difference between modernity, modernism and postmodernism, according
to Mary Klages’s definitions and the other items posted in the course. Write at least 600 words. Quote
BRIEFLY from her essay throughout your posting. Most of the writing should be your own words. The
ratio of your own writing to quotes should be about 4 to 1. Paragraph your ideas. Organization is
important. Try to bring some insight to the discussion. You will be graded on organization, your use of
quotes from the item posted in the course, and the insight you bring to the ideas. You MUST use
quotation marks and cite your the works you use with a Works Cited page. If you do not include quotes
from the course items, quotation marks, a Works Cited page, and if your response is shorter than 600
words, you will be automatically graded down for not fulfilling the basic requirements.
Please contact me by email and I will send you more information that I have in my course.
Also I would like to order the writer of my first order to write this paper for me. I want only one person write
all my essays. Thanks

900 – 1200 word. You will discuss the ways in which Death of a Salesman is a
modern play, according to Klages’s essay, and the ways in which David Mamet’s
Glengarry Glen Ross is a postmodern answer to Arthur Miller’s play. Read the
entire explanation below before starting your paper. At the end of the explanation
are some parameters for the paper.

Both plays are about salesmen and the effects of unbridled capitalism on the human
psyche. Miller’s take on this theme is decidedly modern. Miller’s modernist views are
clear in the plot and characters of the play, but they are also underlined in Miller’s essay
about tragedy, where he defends the notion of a modern tragic hero. Tragedy is a
classical concept, but Miller reworks that idea and turns it into a modern concept (not a
postmodern one). One of the most important ways in which Miller’s play is modern has
to do with the idea that modern writers “try to uphold the idea that works of art can
provide the unity, coherence, and meaning which has been lost in most of modern life;
art will do what other human institutions fail to do” (Klages). 
Clearly, in Miller’s view, the institutions of capitalism have failed to provide Willy with a
meaningful life. Willy cannot buy his way into meaning, though he tries; nor can he work
his way into meaning, though he tries. Not only is this failure a problem for Willy, but it is
a problem for many Americans in Miller’s world. Willy represents an American
Everyman. The character personifies the typical working stiff in Miller’s imagination.
Willy Loman is truly a low man within the capitalist hierarchy. As such, his life has little
meaning within the capitalist system. But in writing his play, Miller attempts to give
Willy’s life meaning. He attempts to provide “what other human institutions fail to do”
(Klages). Updating the classical form of tragedy, Miller attempts to do for Willy, and all

men like him, what money and capitalism can’t – provide meaning for his existence to
the rest of the world. And thus, Willy’s story becomes a dire warning to everyone in the
audience, telling them to ignore the lure of money and try to do something of value with
their lives. “He never knew who he was,” says Biff of his father (Miller 2391). And that is
Willy’s greatest tragedy. In his attempt to achieve the capitalist dream of riches, he
loses his soul.
Mamet’s play gives us an altogether different take on capitalism – different, not better.
His play is decidedly postmodern. And he knows he is writing in the very long shadow of
Arthur Miller, who was one of America’s greatest living playwrights at the time Mamet
wrote his play (Miller has since died). Where Miller saw tragedy and sadness, Mamet
sees the farcical horrors of a system that would grind up men for a Cadillac. And while
Miller tries to create meaning from Willy’s tragic life, Mamet’s play makes no claims to
creating meaning out of the pathetic lives of his characters. His characters live very
provisional lives; in fact, the entire plot hinges of the provision of each man getting his
name on the board. But Mamet’s play “doesn’t lament the idea of [the] . . .
provisionality, or incoherence” of his characters’ lives; instead Mamet’s play says
something along the lines of “let’s not pretend that art can make meaning . . . let’s just
play with nonsense” (Klages).
His playfulness is clear in the dark comedy of the play. Unlike Miller’s play, Mamet’s is
very funny (one good reason to see the film is that it’s easier to get the comedy). That
doesn’t stop it from presenting a very, very dark vision of humanity, but Mamet makes
no claims to providing an answer to that darkness. He just examines it and holds it up to
the theatrical lights for his audience to examine as well. Another way he uses
playfulness is in the dialogue. He takes the way he’s heard men speaking to each other
and exaggerates it. The characters are left with little besides profanity to express the
rage, disappointment, fear, and horror they feel at the condition of their own lonely lives.
Thus, this play is NOT modern because as sad as these characters might be, they do
not give us one of the fundamental pieces of tragedy that a modern play does: in a
modernist play’s attempt to provide meaning it must provide catharsis for the audience.
Catharsis, that rush of feeling that comes at the end of all tragedies (whether they are
classical or modern), is what makes the audience feel like they want to make better
choices than Willy did after seeing the play. Both Aristotle and Miller discuss the
importance of catharsis in tragedy. Mamet’s play provides no catharsis and is not tragic
or modern. It is postmodern, especially in the way it offers us no answers and no
meaning beyond the experience of enjoying or being repulsed by the world he creates
for us in his play.
In your final paper, you are to use Miller’s essay (as opposed to his play) and
Klages’s essay to discuss how one play is modern and the other postmodern.
Create an introduction that ends in a thesis (the main idea of your paper).
Create at least two body paragraphs (though there can be more). Each body
paragraph should start with at topic sentence that captures the main ideas of the
paragraph. The topic sentences SHOULD NOT be a statement about what

happens in the play. It should state the ideas the student wishes to discuss in the
paragraph. Following the topic sentence students will develop those ideas with
explanation that is supported by both the essays and the play.
Use MLA citations in the paper and create a Works Cited page. Use the Owl Purdue
website at http://owl.english.purdue.edu to answer your questions on MLA. Turn the
final paper in by the due date.

Your paper will be graded on the following:
 Understanding of the concepts (are the concepts of modernism, postmodernism,
and tragedy clear?)
 Structure (is there an introduction? a thesis? topic sentences?)
 Development (are the ideas developed with enough explanation and textual
support in the form of brief quotes? Are the paragraphs clear and do they hold
 Understanding of the plays (is there enough information about the plays to show
real depth of understanding?)
 Use of MLA (is it correct? Is there a Works Cited page that is also in correct
 Grammar and spelling

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