Absurd realism in postmodern American fiction: Wallace, Pynchon, and Tomasula

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Babalola, Titilola
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of English, c2013
In this thesis, I examine absurd realism as a literary subgenre in postmodern American fiction. I define the concept of absurd realism, focusing on the features that characterize it as a postmodern subgenre. I also look at its relationship with other subgenres of literature such as realism, absurdism, magical realism, and satire. Through the analyses of three postmodern novels: David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, and Steve Tomasula’s TOC: A New Media Novel, I illustrate how the features of absurd realism portray a postmodern world pervaded by boredom and chaos. I also consider how these texts convey the absurdity of human existence through the use of everyday characters, events, and setting. In summary, this thesis focuses on how the absurd occurrences and bizarre characters that exist within these books portray, in both literal and metaphoric senses, the complexity of the postmodern world.
Absurd realism , Postmodern American fiction , David Foster Wallace's The pale king , Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 , Steve Tomasula's TOC: A New Media Novel