"Postmodernism arose as a rejection of modernism... that sought to redefine literature, music, architecture, and the visual arts. While modernism rejects formal aesthetic theories in favor of the functional, postmodernism questions the adequacy of the functional as an inspiration of artistic expression" (412). In the introduction to Part IX, the authors describe the main differences between modernist theories and postmodernist theories. The sentence(s) above are basically describing how postmodernism came about; it was a rejected form of thought and way of life, particularly in the artistic expressions people possess. Art was a way people could shared their thoughts and feelings about the shift society underwent to become more modern. There are so many examples in the world today of how postmodernism has affected our world. One of the ways, as mentioned in the quote, is a shift from the non-functional to the functional in terms of free expression. The two are completely opposite at times and similar at others. "This emphasis on fragmentation and discontinuity in postmodernist though is carried over from modernism, the distinction between the two has more to do with attitude" (412). It is clear that postmodernist thought would not have even come about unless the groundwork was laid by the thinkers and theorists of modernist thought. It is almost like postmodernism is an extension of modernism, with a big change in how people thought about the world. While modernism rejects the fragmentary and the chaotic, postmodernism accepts it. When society changes, thought has to change with it; meaning that new theories about postmodernist societies are being surfaced.
Some of the main characteristics of postmodernism, as highlighted in the introduction, are laid as followed. "This theoretical position poses a challenge to the modernist belief in subject-centered reason. In other words, it questions the assumption that the rational mind is capable of understanding and depicting the 'real' world around us" (412). Not only must the minds of the theorists themselves be changing, but the rational minds of society need to be open to new interpretations of what the world has become. What postmodernism tries to explain is that, it challenges how modernist peoples has one thought and sets out to establish a new mind set in which people can start to interpret the world through their own senses, beliefs, and values. "Poststructuralism (postmodernism) makes the claim instead that language is central to the production of knowledge..." (412). We are living in a world where social media and communication are central to the processes of life. No one can a whole day without saying a word to someone else and we have found this new obsession of being actively involved in other people's lives (whether they want us too or not). How people communicate and interact with one another is how society functions; it is how society creates knowledge and continues to evolve throughout time. Modernism saw science as the key to obtaining knowledge. Most people get their educations by sitting in a classroom and listening to someone (with prior knowledge) talk. Although some may learn better by doing, most are taught through the use of language. This is a huge shift in going from a modernist society to a postmodernist one.