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The Lost Generation: Hardships Of Wwi Veterans

1039 words - 4 pages

In the years after the Great War, America rose to become a global power, symbolic of wealth and everything that came with it. Frivolous spending was a common thing to expect in the years between World War 1 and the Great Depression. Luxury was no longer a commodity solely for the upper-class during the roaring 1920's. All throughout, the United States was booming. The return of the veterans from Europe was of course celebrated by all, but there was a certain coterie that were troubled in discovering tranquility in a country that was still commemorating it's upset over the Central Powers. The very men that had fought for their country to propel it to a state of economic prowess were slowly becoming alienated by the society of post war America. A term coined by Gertrude Stein, friend and mentor of Ernest Hemingway, the “Lost Generation” found that their lives in the states would be altered perilously by Allied victory in Europe. The epoch of this conglomerate of young men was brought to life through the style of its writers. The Lost Generation is an allocation of young men, generally American writers, who built themselves during the 1920's based on a sense of aimlessness and loss of moral compass, showed how their learned values no longer applied in post war society through their written works and was made commonplace in the vocabulary of today through the writing of Ernest Hemingway.
The Lost Generation is a term initially used by Gertrude Stein to categorize the men who had fought in World War 1 and found life in society afterwards to be arduous. The story goes that she heard a repair shop owner call his employees "Une generation perdue", saying that though they were easy to train, the men who fought had no drive in them to achieve anything (). “She had her own opinions on Hemingway's lifestyle which was largely based on drinking at the nightclubs of Paris. She said of Hemingway and the ex-patriots. 'That's what you are, that's what you all are. All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation'”. The reason behind the title of “lost”, is that during the war, the faith in these men had been drained. Everything they knew about virtue and righteousness had been destroyed by World War 1. They became lost because they could no longer grasp the hope that led them to war in the first place. It was upon this sense of being depleted in America, that Hemingway and the Lost Generation traveled to Paris, seeking cosmopolitan lifestyle and literary indulgence.
These writers were the catalyst in the change in American writing that took place in the early 20th century. The Lost Generation diverged from the rigid Victorian style that was the norm for their era and moved towards a more modern style, not only in the style itself, but the topics as well. Pessimism became increasingly prominent in this period of writing compared to the usual optimistic “happy endings” that had been common. For...

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