The Lost Generation In The Great Gatsby And The Sun Also Rises

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World War I had the highest casualty rate, the greatest cost, and the farthest reaching consequences of any preceding war in history. One of these consequences was the desolation of traditional values in the soldiers that survived the war. This loss created what was known as the “Lost Generation,” the generation that came of age during the war and due to the traumatizing experiences they faced they were left confused and aimless. From this generation emerged many notable writers who portrayed varying viewpoints and aspects of the Lost Generation. The preeminent writers of this time were F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Two of their most widely known novels, The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises respectively; reflect the author’s experience in WWI, and despite their seemingly contradicting depiction of early 1920’s life, both are stories that illustrate the Lost Generation.
The Lost Generation
In an article by the Montgomery College (n.d), they stated that the phrase the Lost Generation was coined by Gertrude Stein who, after a mechanic working on her car did a poor job, is rumored to have heard the garage owner say that the generation that had been in the war was “une génération perdue” or a lost generation. She later used this term to describe the group of people who rejected the American values of the 1920’s. Specifically the people who were in their 20’s to 30’s and had been a part of the war. In prominent authors of the time the lost generation defines a sense of moral loss and aimlessness apparent during the 1920’s. The term was popularized by being used as a theme in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. The writers of the Lost Generation also denounced American culture in their writing through themes of exp...

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...their writing in The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises and many other works of literature they wrote after the war. The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises portray the Lost Generation, just from different viewpoints. The Great Gatsby is a reflection of the Lost Generation from America’s viewpoint. One where the exuberance of the Jazz Age was used to hide the disillusionment that they were confronted with at the end of the war. The Sun Also Rises depicts the Lost Generation as it was in Europe, specifically Paris. Europe held the greatest concentration of the Lost Generation, due to the fact that many expatriates left for Europe because they had been changed too much to return home. From this I have learned much about the Lost Generation and 1920’s literature, and this study has prompted further research into how other 1920’s authors illustrate the Lost Generation.
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