Modern versus Postmodern Epistemologies in the Short Story: A Comparison of Two Short Stories



In contrast with modern Cartesian epistemology that is based on the subject-object dichotomy of man versus the world, postmodern approach makes no distinction between the two; conceiving them in a dialectical interaction. This article contrasts the traditional/modern and postmodern views of "reality" by analyzing two examples from the short story genre, taken as metaphors for rendering reality: In Hawthorne's traditional story the protagonist leaves his house (the world) to watch it from without, (without any encounter with it). In the classically happy ending of the story, his homecoming makes no apparent objection or surprise on behalf of his wife, and the border and relation between the subject and the object is not violated. But in Louisa, Please Come Home there is no subject-object dichotomy between the protagonist and the world, and they mutually modify and define one another. When Louisa comes home, her parents and sister do not recognize her. The subject and the object in this postmodern short story are relative, and their identity and relation are dynamic. This article deals specifically with the element of point of view and the idea of seeing.