As a leader of the Modernist Era, Eliot was somewhat of a skeptic of the world and its ideologies. In his poems, he would explore ideas of the unconscious and the primitive features behind it in route to surreal poetry. His poems such as “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “The Hollow Men,” and “The Waste Land” all delved into myth and analyzed the foreboding psychology of human beings. His themes would question the humanity of the world, often nurturing the intellectual and spiritual philosophies of life. As such, he synchronized with the Modernist Era, driving forth beliefs that the human psyche had become too alienated from reality. For his work, Eliot won the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature for “pioneering present-day poetry.” His advice best comes in the form of his famous quote: "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
William Faulkner, who said "Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself," wrote with a “stream of consciousness” method where words had simply flowed out instead of being meticulously chosen. His gothic, grotesque stories often journeyed through the South after the Civil War, where many were burdened by their ancestry. His ideas focused on how the scourge of slavery affected relationships, exploring a lost time in which Faulkner once grew up in. Other themes in his famous works like As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and Light in August would catch the complexities of love, which no one seems to know. Such concepts earned him the 1949 Novel Prize in Literature for his "powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel."
Born in Natchez, Mississippi as the grandson of previous slaves, Richard Wright was a strong voice against the treatment of African Americans in the United States. He raised questions on how a Black man could live in a place that denies his own humanity. As such, he said "Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread. " His novels such as Uncle Tom’s Children, Native Son, and The Outsider were passionately recognized for raising awareness of racial inequality in the 30s and 40s. As result, Wright won the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts award in 1939, and his novel Native Son was on Time Magazine’s list for the best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.
Upton Sinclair's professional career was not one without controversy. An American novelist with strong socialist views, Sinclair wrote best-selling novels such as The Jungle and Oil! (which is now the critically-acclaimed film There Will Be Blood). The Jungle was originally intended to create sympathy for poorly treated immigrant workers, but many found the novel as a start point to reconsider federal food-inspection laws. Oil! was, however, a relatively anti-capitalist book that explored the cost of greed and the comfort of religion, and how all may propagate the truth. Such bestsellers would earn him the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1943. Though, his socialist views as he ran for the house in 1926 and 1930 had brought many anti-Sinclair’s through the media, making the author an unpopular candidate. Still, his fiction would have its influence for years after his death in 1968, still teaching people today with its universal themes.
Coodley, Lauren. “Upton Sinclair.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2020,
Millgate, Michael. “William Faulkner.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2020,
“Richard Wright.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2020,
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