Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover: Find the Beauty Within
The evolution of intellectual movements: Realism, Modernism, and
Postmodernism expressed the different concerns and views of authors, but also
challenged the views of readers. Realism introduced the simplicity of humans, drawing
attention to one’s daily concerns of the middle class.
Modernism departed from
traditional texts, and focused on the insignificance, alienation, and abandonment of the
individual. Postmodernism, in essence stems from Modernist ideas, however, Postmodern
writers concentrated on truth and interpretation while scrutinizing the views of others.
Although these literary perspectives differ, they connect through a human obsession:
appearance. Thus, the authors of Realism, Modernism, and Postmodernism use global
perceptions of appearances to emphasize the character’s faulty and ignorant views of
Beginning in the 19
Century, this idea of literary characters fixating on the
superficiality of physical appearance and the need for stability became a focus of many
Realist authors. Among them, French author Gustave Flaubert writes about his personal
accounts and experiences of his journey to the Middle East in “Travels in Egypt” (1850).
Accompanied by his companion Max, Flaubert visits numerous brothels in Cairo, Egypt
where he shortly reveals his physical fascination of the prostitutes they encounter. He, for
instance, centralizes on the outwardly appearances of their “ornamented” (456) clothing
and “slightly coffee coloured” (456) skin. By placing emphasis on the guises of these
harlots, Flaubert reveals his own superficiality and instability of things that surely fade
and decay through time, such as the ornamented attire and perfectly colored skin. The
ornamented clothing will eventually tarnish, and lose its sparkle, while the skin gradually