Modernism was a literary movement that began in the late 19th century. The idea of modernism is closely tied to the idea of modernity — our present time as opposed to the past or future.
Modernists used techniques such as stream-of-consciousness narration and the rejection of traditional plot structures in order to evoke sensations, feelings, thoughts, etc., in the reader rather than tell a story or develop characters. They often used ambiguous symbolism and symbolism that was not clear until later on in the story or poem.
Modernist writers made changes in many aspects of writing. These included:
• Language: Modernists used elements of colloquial speech, including slang and contractions, in their works.
• Narrative structure: Modernists experimented with stream-of-consciousness narration, which describes events vividly through the inner thoughts of characters.
• Point of view: In contrast to Victorian novels with omniscient narrators who knew everything about every character, modernists used multiple points of view that were limited by what each character knew or thought about other characters’ actions.
• Setting: Modernist writers often chose unusual settings for their stories, such as an urban apartment building or a ship on the high seas. Some stories even take place in outer space!
Modernist literature tended to emphasize the individual over society, sometimes even at the expense of social responsibility or community welfare.