The Lost Generation

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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 century British influenced writing and conservatism.

The dawn of the 1920s was a prosperous period, with mass consumption, industry, and wages rising. As a result, the idea of materialism became popular amongst Americans. Americans valued cars and homes rather than spiritual practices and morals. This generation was dubbed the Lost Generation as people cultivated new ways of life that challenged the older orthodox practices and who were recovering from a war which many of the generation found pointless, and added new meaning to the isolationist movement started during that time.

Throughout the lost generation, many writers criticized middle class conformity and other issues. Their motives include post-war angst, gender roles, and values. The writers reflected not only their view of society but the views of the generation’s young adults. One writer in particular, Ernest Hemingway, used his experience in the war to write about the theme of war in his novels, and expressed his view of its effects concerning male masculinity and female promiscui...

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...liot, Modern Critical Views. New York: Chelsea House, 1985. Print.

The essays used in this book have been chosen by Harold Bloom, being that they are still by different essayists than the last two sources mentioned and considering Bloom is not one of them, it is still not bias. This source shed some light on the context of the two poems that were analyzed, but minimal observations on the poem itself and its correlation to the themes. Given this, there was only bare to little use of this secondary source.

Primary Sources

Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Scribner, 1996. Print.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and Matthew J. Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Print.

Eliot, T.s. The Hollow Men. New York: International, 1941. Print.

Eliot, T. S., and Christopher Ricks. The Waste Land. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1997. Print.

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