How did the writers of the Lost Generation reflect their views on post-WW1 disillusionment, gender roles, and morals in society through their written works?
The 1920s was seen as a turning point in American history in terms of literature, art, and music. Also known as the Jazz Age, the era brought new highly visible social and cultural trends. My research question asks not only how did the writers reflect their views, but how the historical context of that time period affected the minds of the intellectuals. I am interested in this topic because I wanted to investigate the reasoning behind modern literature, and arguably the first real American style, leaving behind the romantic 19th ...view middle of the document...
Post-WWI caused many people to try and forget the emotional scarring of that bloody incident, becoming optimistic and in search of a good time. Conservatism and moderation were completely undermined by the illegal activities of the Lost Generation and were reflected in this novel.
T.S. Eliot expressed his hatred of the Treaty of Versailles through his poem The Hollow Men as well as illustrated the disillusionment followed by the war in his poem The Waste Land. The style of The Waste Land constantly shifted tones which reflected the fragmentation of the modern world. The essays included in Modern Critical Views: T.S. Eliot said that Eliot suggested that history is a repeating cycle and the more it changes, the more it stays the same. Since WWI was, surprisingly, the first world war, it was incomparable to anything in American history. Being incomparable, the war was seen as cause of drastic change.
The Sun Also Rises took place in post-WWI Europe, specifically Paris. The narrator was a veteran of the war who has had a traumatic experience from it, specifically an injury that has made him sterile which reflected the theme of masculinity in gender roles. The other characters included an immigrant from America who used boxing to let out his frustrations about feeling like an outsider because he’s Jewish, and a promiscuous woman who showed great power around her male counterparts and was very independent. The whole plot of the story was a reflection of the disillusionment due to the war, the constant vices, numbness of morals, and male insecurity.
The author, Ernest Hemingway, participated in WWI himself. Even though he didn’t participate in combat, he was close enough to the action and was actually injured on the job as an ambulance driver. He reflected his views on the war through the character/narrator Jake Barnes who, in the story, was a war veteran. Barnes said, “We would probably have gone on and discussed the war and agreed that it was in reality a calamity for civilization, and perhaps would have been better avoided” (Hemingway 25). Here Jake made the observation about the war and how it could have been avoided which reflected the views of Hemingway and how he thought the war was pointless.
In Hemingway’s perspective, not only was the war pointless, but undermined the original idea of being manly with the war’s realities. The disability of Jake’s genitals reflected the weakness and “unmanliness” in result of the war. This went hand in hand with the theory of the Lost Generation, a generation which somewhat strayed their older generations’ ideology after the war. One observation made is that the character, Lady Brett, had more masculine qualities than the men in this story. Brett was an independent and powerful woman who chose not to be with Jake because of his disability and caused violent tensions between him and his friends. This showed how Hemingway believed that independent, powerful women were dangerous in society by not...