With the advent of technological advancements, conventional media and social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and various blogs among other platforms, gradually started to replace the functions of literature in the society. On-line forums make it possible for people around the world to communicate and share thoughts immediately. Thus, modern technologies constitute traditional elements of literature, making established genres, such as poetry, novels, and plays, obsolete and old-fashioned in the digital world. Instantaneous circulation of information and dynamic technological progress has resulted in a rapid shift of societal values. Current situation has forced the contemporary literature to respond to the present social trends and art movements. This paper will focus on the place of the literature in the modern American society and try to establish the framework in which in should develop.
Recently, US society has evidenced deep changes in the political and economical life of the country. Great shifts frequently result in problems and even crises in different spheres of life. Last twenty years were signified not only with positive dynamics and achievements but also with the advancement of terrorism and radicalization, economic depression and decline of ethical values. Thus, it is evident that the USA goes through transitional period in its history. In such periods of time, literature has always been a therapeutic measure, giving the society exact reflection of their nature and stimulating them to improve. Unfortunately, modern writers are experiencing difficult time themselves, thus, they are not capable of accomplishing their functions. Nowadays, they are inclined to populist ideas and cheap criticism, though it would be better if literature offered possible solutions to get out of moral crisis and helped the society solve their problems. The only literary genre that is now on the wave of success could possibly be science fiction, as it suggests easy ways of escaping out of odious reality to the world of dreams and fantasies. Besides, a lot of predictions made my science-fiction writers come true nowadays. For instance, it could be clearly seen that the novels of Philip K. Dick or Isaac Azimov are becoming more popular day by day, as they describe the possible futuristic tendencies we are currently facing. Famous novels by Azimov, such as I, Robot, depict the future where the robots try to replace humans on the Earth, being more sophisticated and clever that their creators.
American literature needs total overhaul in the constantly changing world. Art has multiply witnessed such genre alterations influenced by political or social situations: for instance, realism replaced romanticism to follow realities of the day (Stobaugh, 2012). For example, Jack London became a symbol of American literature, bringing to life the image of "self-made man" in his novel Martin Eden. He inspired a lot of readers and served as an example of "a hero of the time", helping them to adjust to new circumstances.
Literature should address such burning issues as drug menace, terrorism, cyber crimes, poverty, and other matters threatening humanity (Fleming & Payne, 1988). It should also avoid blackmailing from current regimes that may tend to overshadow the role of literature in the society. Literature is to develop more understanding of social paradigms in the modern world and efficiently predict shifts and needs of the postmodernism world. For instance, Chack Palahniuk, contemporary American writer and journalist, describes the horrors of consumer society in his novels Fight Club and Choke. He touches upon such issues as psychological problems of middle-class people, terrorism, and anger.
Speaking about innovative ways of position literature in the modern world, it could be advocating for social media platform as a major way of spreading information to the readers. Settling on the Internet, writers could keep the rack of events, provide constructive criticism, and cultivate a taste of mainstream audience.. Literature could address such important themes as racism and demonstrate the significance of tolerance. Thus, social media have the opportunity to become new platform for literary movements.
In conclusion, American literature is now facing obvious difficulties of digital age. Unless any measures were taken, it could be easily replaced with social media platform or cinema production. Thus, literature should be more flexible and find new ways of existing. It should address important up-to date issues and be in touch with its readers to gain more popularity and affect modern world.
- Fleming, R., & Payne, M. (1988). New interpretations of American literature. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press.
- Stobaugh, J. P. (2012). American literature: Cultural influences of early to contemporary voices. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.