We will explore When I was One-and Twenty by A.E Housman, Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, and 1984 by George Orwell.
Authors write to reach their audience based on the time period they live in; looking at the Victorian, Modern, and Postmodern eras of literature, we will see how they differ in reflecting society in which they live.
The Victorian age focused a lot on the idea of love; which is shown in this poem. The objects that are mentioned are also things common during this time period, but in modern day are not found.
Victorian era: 1833-1901
“When I was one and twenty i heard a wise man say, give crowns and pounds and guineas but not your heart away;”
Higgins is giving Eliza advice in this scene. This scene is an example of how social classes were becoming a big deal in modern society. Dominating even the way people were treated.
“The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and each soul is as good as another.”
In George Orwell's 1984, it sets up a government that controls everything and watches every move you do. This quote by the character O'brien helps give warning about a totalitarian government. Government seeing things such as information on our phones, is an example of how this story reflects the modern times.
"One does not start a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship."
I hope that these three literature examples helped you understand how literature reflects society.
Housman, A. E. When I Was One-and-Twenty: Poems. Silver Thimble Books, 1986. Shaw, Bernard. Pygmalion: 1912. 1912. Orwell, George. 1984 . Spark Publishing, 2014.