INTRODUCTION are often used together. The central figures of

        INTRODUCTION Franz Kafka said “The books we need are the kind that act upon us like a nightmare that make us suffer like the death of someone we love more than ourselves…..A book should serve as an axe for the frozen sea inside us.”The Second World War in 1945 left a tremendous impact on civilisation. These adverse impacts of World War II helped to create several new traditions in literature. And thus this period is remarked as the years of great development of American drama. Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams are called the best dramatists of the 20th century. The term postmodern literature is used to describe certain tendencies in post-World War II literature. It was the continuation of the experiments done by the modernist writers and a reaction against the ideas of Enlightenment in Modernist literature. Postmodernism in literature is not an organised movement with leaders or central figures.The term postmodernism indicates a way of thinking, or even non-thinking more than it refers to a particular historical period. During 1960’s the civil rights movement and antiwar protests of the mid-1960s triggered an explosion in American drama as regional and experimental theaters proliferated and many talented new dramatists came to the fore.  Experimental theater companies including the Living Theater and the Open Theater experimented with groups by placing performers and audience members in the same physical space. In fact a number of modernists were still living and published their works during 1950’s and 1960’s including T.S.Eliot, William Faulkner,  Dorothy Richardson, Samuel Beckett,  Dylan Thomas,  Evelyn Waugh,  W. H. Auden and Ezra Pound.Postmodern era uses certain themes and techniques in literature. Some of them are often used together. The central figures of many postmodern literary works are irony and black humor. The relationship between one text and another known as intertextuality can be much focused during this era. Pastiche is another technique used by writers like William.S.Burroughs, Umberto Eco, Margaret Atwood, etc. It means to combine or paste together multiple elements. After Second World War writers started changing from realism to irrealism or fabulation. Another important theme seen mostly in Latin American literature is the concept of Magical Realism sometimes called fabulation, in reference to the conventions of fables, myths, and allegory. It could be seen in the works of writers like Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Metafiction is most commonly associated with postmodernism. Temporal distortion is also a common theme used both in modernist and post modernist writings.Postmodernism as a movement arose in American theatre during 1970’s. Some of the dramatist during this period is Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Dylan Thomas, Sam Shepard, Tom Stoppard, David Mamet, Caryl Churchill, Alan Ayckbourn, etc. During 1970’s and 1980’s Sam Shepard and David Mamet loomed large in American drama as Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller during 1950’s. Shepard’s hard-edged drama, explored the American family and the destructive myths of true west in Buried Child (1978) and True West (1980).Now let’s look close into the details about Sam Shepard , one of the famous dramatists of the postmodern era.Samuel Shepard Rogers III professionally known as Sam Shepard was born in Fort Sheridan, Illinois on November 5, 1943 as the eldest son of Samuel Shepard Rogers, an Army officer and Jane Elaine, a teacher. Sam Shepard is an American playwright, actor, author, screenwriter and director. He is one of the most brilliant writers who have ever worked on the American stage. He wrote nearly 50 plays, several short stories, essays and memoirsAfter his graduation in 1961, he studied animal husbandry intending to become a vet but later he became enamored of Samuel Beckett, jazz, and abstract expressionism. Shepard soon dropped out to join a touring theatre company, the Bishop’s Company Repertory Prayers. There he spend nearly two years with the company and eventually settled in New York where he began writing plays. At first he performed with an obscure off-off-Broadway group in 1962 but eventually gaining recognition for his writings and also started winning awards. Later moved to London in 1971, where he continued writing. Shepard was also closely connected with Theatre Genesis, housed at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery in Manhattan’s East Village.  Most of his initial writing was for the stage. However, after winning six Obie Awards between 1966 and 1968, Shepard emerged as a viable screenwriter with Robert Frank’s Me and My Brother (1968) and Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point (1970). During 1975 Shepard joined Magic Theatre as the Playwright-in-residence and wrote some of his best plays for them including ‘Curse of the Starving Class’ (1976), ‘Buried Child’ (1978), and ‘True West’ (1980) together known as the “Family Trilogy”.Shepard has won 10 Obie Awards for writing and directing and also received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983). Shepard received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American Dramatist in 2009. New York magazine described him as “the greatest American playwright of his generation”. Shepard was a natural onscreen, winning fans in the early 80’s with roles in films such as The Right Stuff for which he earned an Oscar nomination. He was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1994. In 1992, he was honoured with the Gold Medal for Drama at the American Academy of Arts and Letters Awards. He was also nominated as the Best Adapted Screenplay BAFTA for his work on Paris, Texas (1984)During his  40 years of career some of his major works are Cowboys(1964), Curse of the Starving Class(1978),  Fool for Love(1983)A Lie of the Mind(1985),The God of Hell(2004),Kicking a Dead Horse(2007),etc. He also wrote two novels The One Inside and Spy of the First Person (2017). Shepard wrote a limited number of books, including Motel Chronicles, Lie of the Mind, and Rolling Thunder Logbook (his personal account of the Northeastern tour on which he accompanied Bob Dylan).In 1988, Shepard made his debut as a director with Far North. He was showered with nominations for his starring role of Dashiell Hammett in the T.V. film, Dash and Lilly (1999). Shepard has also starred in popular films such as The Notebook (2004), Brothers (2009), Safe House (2012), Darling Companion (2012) and Killing Them Softly (2012).He is deeply influenced by the absurdism of Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Brecht’s Epic Theatre, Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty and the nihilism of Eugene O’Neill, a radically new type of theater, known as the postmodern theater emerged in the Western World during the late 1970s and 1980s. Shepard’s plays combines wild humor, grotesque satire, myth, and sparse, haunting language to create a subversive vision of America. Shepard frequently incorporates images of the Old West, rock and roll, signs, symbols, myth, nostalgia, sense of loss, feeling of purpose in life, spiritual starvation, science fiction, elements of past, land etc. His characters are typically loners, drifters caught between a mythical past and the mechanized present craving for a stable identity and a return to origins, but they ultimately realize that freedom is possible only through the prescribed postmodern attitudes of fluidity, instability, performance and movementSam Shepard was divorced from his wife, O-Lan Jones, with whom he has a son, in 1984 after 15 years of marriage. For many years Shepard lived with Oscar-winning actress Jessica Lange, beginning in 1982. They lived on a farm in Virginia with their two children, Hannah and Samuel Walker.Sam Shepard died July 27, 2017 from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.Marcus Tullius Cicero said “The life of dead is placed in the memory of the living.” Now let’s look more into the Pulitzer Prize won play “BURIED CHILD”.Buried Child is a postmodern play written by Sam Shepard in 1978. The three act play had won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979 and aroused Shepard to the main stream attention as a playwright.  In 1979, Shepard also won the Obie Award for Playwriting. The Broadway production in 1996 was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Play. The play is about a dysfunctional American family in a context of disappointment and disillusionment with American mythology and the American Dream. Buried Child brings together the playwrights contemporary myths and rituals of ancient times, suggesting the interference of personal and collective memory, transcending the cultural and temporal American borders. This play itself can be categorised as Shepard’s own autobiography because it draws on details from his own life. In mid 1970’s, an oil crash and a stock market crash led to an economic recession resulting in high rates of inflation and unemployment in US.  Buried Child in 1978 portrays a middle American agricultural family whose affected strongly by this period. This lead to the breakdown of traditional family structures and values.The play takes place on an old farm house in rural Illinois, heart of America. The patriarch of the family Dodge is an alcoholic on his death bed, his wife Halie is having an affair with the local Protestant minister, Father Dewis. As Dodges health devolves, the prodigal son Tilden returns from New Mexico and the younger one Bradely lives nearby is an amputee. Halie lives in a world of nostalgia where she laments the death of their beloved son Ansel, who was murdered years before.  The protagonist struggle to escape the patterns of alcoholism, isolation and abuse by clinging to the myths of a misremembered past. Everyone in the family acts strangely until Tilden’s son Venice and his girlfriend Shelly comes home after six years but none of them recognise him. The family members of the play are far apart from each other physically as well as spiritually and they even don’t understand each. As the play progress we can see the past being unearthed and confronted. Tilden talks about the son Ansel, he had a long time ago with his mother, Halie, but Dodge had killed the baby and buried him in the backyard. Since, 1935 the farm is barren. After sometime Vince notices that Dodge has died. Tilden enters from the back yard with the corpse of the child. As he ascends the stairs, we hear Halie from upstairs, observing a field full of vegetables behind the house. Dodges family is an example of how an absent object and the memory of it can influence the evolution of people and is also an example of how an absent thing can stir a  playwrights imaginationOne of the major themes in the play is the idea of failure. Halie and Dodge failed to be perfect parents for their children. Every character in the play is characterised by a sense of failure. The characters failed at achieving different parts of the “American Dream”—prosperity, freedom, family, and happiness, usually represented by owning one’s home and raising a family. Shepard plays with two ancient opposing rituals in Buried Child: harvest and burial. In the play,  rituals reflect changes in power dynamics between the characters, and foreshadow the instances of death and the possibilities for rebirth. Shepard also portrays religion as a context in this play. Myth is used as an important theme in this play. Shepard incorporated Biblical mythology, Egyptian mythology, Antic Greece mythology, etc in this play.  As an example of postmodern drama Buried Child embodies Ihab Hassan’s principles of ambiguity, discontinuity, pluralism, perversion, deformation, disintegration and differences, Baudrillard’s principles of simulation and loss of the real, Derrida’s concept of deconstruction and Lyotard’s the fall of grand narratives.It is said that while reading we don’t fall in love with characters appearance. We fall in love with their words, thoughts and their hearts. The most striking element in the play according to me is the incorporation of the elements of pastness to connect present. It is said that “The life of dead is placed in the memory of the living.” And is true in this play because the entire play revolves around the memory of the buried child. Thus the memory of an absent object whose disappearance had generated and memory had created tension and conflict in the family.