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Influence of Religion at and Art - Literature review Example

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The paper “Influence of Religion at Literature and Art” investigates what influence does religion has at literature and art analyzing the works of Ernest Hemingway, James Baldwin, and Kurt Vonnegut. Religion is an integral part of modern life because it makes a connection between a person and God…
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Influence of Religion at Literature and Art
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Download file to see previous pages This paper will begin with the statement that the twentieth century was the most discrepant period in the history of mankind. On the one hand that was the epoch of scientific, technical and intellectual progress and great hitches in all spheres of human activity. On the other, the 20th century was the age of deep spiritual crisis. Every person in the world revised old established ideas about good and evil. Thomas Mann called it the age of endless wars and revolutions (Jasper, 1992, p. 54). It assumed collisions not only between countries and classes but also in human minds and souls. The radical experience of the World War I and World War II was described by American writers who came to fight young, full of hopes and returned from the war with destroyed dreams and believes without finding the new ones. Such writers created their own literature - the literature of "Lost Generation". In their works Ernest Hemingway, William Folkner and others depicted disregarded surroundings, estrangement and deep pessimism caused by cruel reality. Ernest Hemingway wrote " when men fight for the freedom of their country against a foreign invasion, and when these men are your friends, some few friends and some of long standing, you know how they were attached and how they fought, you learn, watching them live and fight and die, you learn that there are worse things than war. Cowardice is worse, treachery is worse, and simple selfishness is worse" (Brian, 1988, p. 73). People, who got the scar of the war did not believe in God any more. The crisis of the twentieth century was one of the social phenomena that had to be acknowledged before it was dealt with. The way out of the crisis was hard and long because the main reason of it was the changing of the attitude towards the Christian dogmas. Outstanding German philosopher Fridrich Nitse wrote: "Concept of God still was the strongest objection against existing We disclaim God. We deny the responsibility in God and due to this we'll save the world for the first time" (Pelican, 1991, p. 83). Another philosopher Thomas Mann said that Christianity was one of the bases on which our civilization lied. In such turbulent times every person who was spiritually free and not only swimming with the stream of the age had an urgent necessity to reappraise his values, to realize them again and stand up for them. The 20th century strictly criticised Christian morality. Nevertheless that criticism touched only the superficial ideas but the deep Christian dogmas that were found once stayed virginal (Jasper, 1992, p. 69). For the last two thousand years you could hardly find a literary work where the theme of religion, faith or God was omitted. These themes were omnipresent. Their variations - Christian images, symbols, allusions, associations, philosophical reflections on God were found in works of different writers, different genres and styles. American literature of the 20th century was not an exception. Till the time Kurt Vonnegut's usage of Christian motives were not thoroughly examined. The critics had an opinion that Christianity and Vonnegut were almost incompatible. They supposed the writer's attitude towards Christianity was not serious but even negative. Only the last researches of his works showed the role and meaning of Christianity in author's world outlook. Religion played an important role in Vonnegut's artistic world and the Bible was the main element of the author's thinking. Vonnegut emphasised the positive beginning of Christianity, its appeal to universal love. Nevertheless Vonnegut thought that the Christian religion couldn't prevent shocking crimes of the 20th century. J. Lundguist wrote a book dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut and his works. In it he analysed Vonnegut's manner of writing and pointed out "the cosmic irony" as the main feature of writer's method. He also touched the theme of Christian religion especially while analysing the Vonnegut's novel "Slaughter-House Five" (1969). Lundguist compared the main hero of the novel with Jesus Christ. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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