Postmodernism In The Truman Show

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With reference to both form and content, demonstrate that the film The Truman Show can be considered post-modern. Postmodernism, as the word suggests, follows on from the era known as modernism. It is said to have stemmed from late Eighteenth Century and early Nineteenth Century theory on Enlightenment. It came, theorists of the subject argue, from the ends of decadence and from Nihilism. Stanley James Granz writes about the origins of postmodernism in his book A Primer on the Postmodern: “Many historians place the birth of the modern era at the dawn of Enlightenment... it became the God of human intellectual quest to unlock the secrets of the universe in order to master nature for human benefit and create a better world”. (Granz, 1996) It is important to familiarize ourselves with Enlightenment in order to understand postmodernism. The term is used within the European philosophy and refers to the time we know now as the Age of Reason. An example of the quizzical, curious state of minds of people living in this era can look no further than the first encyclopaedias, which were compiled and published during this period. Rather than be content with what history had taught them, they would seek the truth, rather than settle for superstition and fear. Postmodernism, as Granz points out, derived from this philosophy. Its thought denies the very grounds on which western cultures have based their “truths”: absolute knowledge and meaning. Jean-Francois Lyotard, a French philosopher and leading postmodernist, was sceptical about the Enlightenment, and wrote about Grand Narratives and Little Narratives in reaction to this theory. The Grand narrative (known as meta-narratives) is a term used in the Enlightenment to describe everything inside a certain framework. These frameworks are said to come from such things as Christianity, Marxism or the government.
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