Essay on Post Modernism and 'City of Glass'

Words: 2744
Pages: 11

There is no clear definition of what postmodernism is. However, City of Glass is considered to be the by far the text which is most visibly postmodernism. This is precisely because it “offers the kind of narrative that zigzags visibly, deliberately missing at all angle the sense of a foundation.” The postmodernist discourse remains central to the understanding of City of Glass. Perhaps the only thing that makes the story alluring is the fact that it is steeped in postmodernist features. Otherwise, it would have been just a cold and ambiguous story about too many coincidences. To understand the novel’s play with predictability, we must have recourse to the post modernist discourse about it. Aristotle primarily argued in “Poetics” that: …show more content…
The story is also guided by an apathetic stance. Even when Quinn loses everything, we do not feel sorry for him. The story in fact, does not require us to. We are not incited to get emotionally involve with the characters so as to feel sorry to them. Paradoxically though, Quinn’s quest becomes the readers’ and the narrator’s quest. We feel along with him, but we do not feel for him. This postmodernist approach is what characterizes the older Stillman who seems impenetrable. He unfeelingly experiments on his son and denies him the human language. However, his plan does not work. Therefore, Peter escapes from this authority. However, instead of having a distinct identity of his own, Peter ends up with an ambiguous and vague identity which can be seen when he says:
“Perhaps I am Peter Stillman. Perhaps I am not. My real name is Peter Nobody.” To understand the significance of the city in the novel, it is imperative to link it with the postmodernist approach. According to Walter Benjamin, in his essay about Paris entitled ‘Capital of Nineteenth Century’, "phantasmagoria" is one salient aspect of this modern world. According to him,
“The development of the metropolis during the last century has established a series of images in the collective unconscious, "images in which the new penetrates into the old, forming utopia." The modern utopia develops not only from ideology but—a fortiori—from an urban source where middle