Postmodernism Characteristic Applied in a Short Story (Down our way)

"Down our way", it's a short story, written by, John Wain, in postmodernism period of English literature.

It talks about issues caused by some black people or pretended to be black, and white race and how they see the blacks. both sides have good and bad, it leaves the reader to judge whether it's the society's fault or it's just people became merciless with each other.

You need to know first that Postmodernism is a late 20th- century movement in philosophy and literary theory that generally questions the basic assumptions of Western philosophy in the modern period (roughly, the 17th century through the 19th century). It was after the W.W, so no wonder that people started to be ruined on the inside after witnessing so much violence all of a sudden. and the story holds out clearly the features and characteristics of this period. 


Many postmodernists hold one or more of the following views: (1) there is no objective reality; (2) there is no scientific or historical truth (objective truth); (3) science and technology (and even reason and logic) are not vehicles of human progress but suspect instruments of established power; (4) reason and logic are not universally valid; (5) there is no such thing as human nature (human behavior and psychology are socially determined or constructed); (6) language does not refer to a reality outside itself; (7) there is no certain knowledge; and (8) no general theory of the natural or social world can be valid or true (all are illegitimate “metanarratives”).


Postmodern philosophy is characterized by broad skepticism or relativism and a general suspicion of reason. It also broadly asserts that Western intellectual and cultural norms and values are a product of or are in some sense influenced by, the ideology of dominant or elite groups and at least indirectly serve their interests.


Postmodernism is a broad movement that developed in the mid- to late- 20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism and that marked a departure from modernism

It also broadly asserts that Western intellectual and cultural norms and values are a product of or are in some sense influenced by, the ideology of dominant or elite groups and at least indirectly serve their interests.

Some of the postmodernism characteristics applied in "Down Our Way":

1- There is no objective reality, as in our story, the reader can't reach the reality of the history of Niger and white together, whose fault is their hate and radicalism against each other, we only have subjective points of view, there is no scientific or historical truth (objective truth).

2- Postmodern philosophy is characterized by broad skepticism or relativism and a general suspicion of reason. As we see in the short story before us, that they all are not sure whether the man who came to rent the room is an original black, or is he disguised in painted color to judge their attitude towards black people. They are also not thinking in reason about hating or disliking the black people for a real fact, they are just irrational.

3- Fragmented perspective, we have different perspectives here, mostly the father, Mr. Robinson and the mother, Mrs. Robinson and the son Arthur, but Doris has a slightly different opinion, as she mentioned that she doesn't mind being with a black man if she liked one, as she knows how it feels to be 26 years old and still single, while her family sees that it's disturbing to deal with darkies.

4- Fragmented structure: remembering the past about the journalist who wrote about the family who didn't treat him well when he was disguised by blacking his face pretending to be a black man who wants to rent a room of theirs.

5- Irony: "Does it say that in the bible?" the writer is making fun of the attitude of some people who wants to justify their situation against the black people by proving their points with lousy reasons or proofs.



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