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Modernism in American Literature Essay

Old folks always tell stories about how they used to run around with their friends and have fun all the time. Now people tend to be caught up in their own lives and don’t seem to enjoy the simple things in life, such as talking to a random stranger about how the weather is or talking to someone at a store about how your day has been. People are self-centered, too much actually.

“In a Station of the Metro” is stated that there are loads of people in a train station, but hardly someone is talking to some other person. For example, if there were a thousand people in a room, most people wouldn’t realize how many people were there nor would they care to familiarize themselves with others. This seems to be a frequent problem in today’s world. Ever since the advent of technology, humans have become less interactive with one another and now rely on the power of text messaging or Facebook for communication. For Ezra Pound to write this short and simple poem, it must’ve taken a lot of thought; but he created such a prominent piece of literature that shows how scary a human behavioral pattern is becoming.

At first “The Red Wheelbarrow” didn’t make much sense. Although some people theorized that it simply has no meaning, to me it seems as if it is signifying the power and use of a simple farm tool. It says how so much depends upon it, and to some that might not make much sense, but for farmers, a wheelbarrow helps them with many things such as getting fed or water their animals or crops, or making sure their livestock has a clean place to sleep. “City” kids won’t understand exactly what effect having such a simple tool can do for you. The text states, “… glazed with rainwater, beside the white chickens.” To some that line may be gibberish, but to me it shows someone working through the rain as to where some people would stop and wait until later to finish what they were doing. This shows a person working through the rain, using the wheelbarrow to take care of their chickens. And that’s a contrast to the world today where most people are lazy and would use any excuse to get out of doing what they do not want to do. The person using this wheelbarrow sounds to be hard working and dedicated.


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The poem “This Is Just to Say” really makes the gears turn. To figure out the thought process of William Carlos Williams, one would need to dig deep and try to guess what the purpose of this poem is. To me, this poem is simply an apology letter for eating someone else’s food. Now this may not seem like something that should be taken too seriously, but it shows that some people do still have manners. Numerous times I’ve heard of someone doing something to help someone and not getting a simple “Thank You” in return. People might think that it’s not that big of a deal and honestly, it shouldn’t, but you never know what a simple act of kindness can do for someone. I was raised to be respectful of my elders and to treat everyone the same. My morals are still together as to where some humans have no morals. A simple compliment can go a long way.

Some things around the world today are spectacular sights. The Eiffel Tower, for example, is something amazing. Not everyone though believes something has to be as big as the Eiffel Tower to be considered “Spectacular”. An adult may think that a painting is spectacular, or a picture is, but for some younger children a spectacular thing can be a simple item such as a fire truck. Although a fire truck really is a piece of artwork if you think about it, a child doesn’t see the details and how much work it takes to make it. They see the shiny bright red color that catches the eye like a worm does a fish. “The Great Figure” is stating how glamorous a fire truck is. From the sirens howling through a city and the gold inside the number on the truck, people find enjoyment and delight in gazing at the big red machine. It seems as if this is from a child’s perspective as they are noticing the bright details that pop out at the observer. Much like how the children of today will marvel at a fire truck because of how nice it looks and how all of the tools aboard it are used. This shows nowadays children are the same as fifty years ago – just as innocent.

The modernist approach to texts in this unit show how people started to “practice” a behavior and it has stuck over generations. People tend to do one thing and repeat it until another era breaks them free from the rut. Today, people lack the motivation to meet new people and have a broader social life. It’s all about being self-centered. No matter how much our leader “messes” up the world, the number of problems could be reduced if people just communicate with others more.

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