Mass Revolt Essay

Mass Revolt Essay

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Europe led the world in almost every aspect of culture leading up to the second decade of the nineteenth century. At that time, it entered into a barbaric war that swept away the illusion of progress and optimism. The majority of citizens living in Europe after the First World War possessed a dismal outlook for the future. The war broke the illusion of prosperity and growth that Europe was under. In reality, growth had died with the modernization of culture as Ortega y Gassett proposes in his novel Revolt of the Masses. The lack of order in the modern and industrial society is cause for limitations people encounter. Ortega’s definition of a “mass man” is the root of chaos modern culture is in. With no restrictions on privilege, the mass man asserts himself in the front of culture where he has no direction or pursuit of a superior future. Ortega’s novel then represents the bleak response to European civilization where no new tradition is being strived for. In contrast, Virginia Woolf addressed a more positive position for a specific group of citizens. She was claiming that women writers, given fair opportunity, can produce a new tradition of literature in the future. Her vision corresponded with other optimists at the time including artists from the Bauhaus School in Germany. She believed growth had not died, instead, was traditionally limited. There was still hope for creativity and progress in the future, but only shared by a minority of citizens living in Europe after the war. These two very different responses to European civilization encompass on one hand the halt of cultural growth due to the rise of the modern mass man who is content with the status quo yet still surpassed the more qualified “super minority”; and on the othe...


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...ake advantage of the opportunity filled civilization of the post war era. The new tradition that would build from generation to generation could not only influence other women but human culture as a whole.
Each of these cultural responses to civilization in the post war era has truth seeded within. It is easy to see common ideals such as equal opportunity, along with the struggle to preserve and recognize the importance of intellectual freedom. Both authors contribute different views to create a better understanding of European civilization after the First World War. Even in the aftermath of a barbaric war, literature inspired citizens to rebuild and create an enhanced future for Europe with superior traditions. Together, they prove that the fate of Europe lies with people who will seize opportunity and work towards creating a beautiful and harmonious society.

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