The Lost Generation

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  • The Lost Generation
    • What is it?
      • Lost Generation, in general, the post-World War I generation, but specifically a group of U.S. writers who came of age during the war and established their literary reputations in the 1920s.
      • The term stems from a remark made by Gertrude Stein to  Ernest Hemingway, “You are all a lost generation.” Hemingway used it as an epigraph to The Sun Also Rises (1926), a novel that captures the attitudes of a hard-drinking, fast-living set of disillusioned young expatriates in postwar Paris.
      • The generation was “lost” in the sense that its inherited values were no longer relevant in the postwar world
      • Having seen pointless death on such a huge scale, many lost faith in traditional values like courage, patriotism, and masculinity. Some in turn became aimless, reckless, and focused on material wealth, unable to believe in abstract ideals.
    • How does it relate to the novel?
      • Jay Gatsby's life is a great illusion, empty of true substance, dominated by lavish parties and his tireless pursuit of Daisy.
      • Although Gatsby has transformed his humble early life into that of a dazzling millionaire, he remains unfullfilled and miserable.
      • "Daisy's voice is the voice of money. Her whole careless world revolves around this illusion: that money makes everything beautiful, even if it is not."
      • "Daisy flirts with Gatsby enjoying his obsessive interest until she commits murder and he takes the rap. Then, she hides behind the protection of her husband, a cruel brute, who uses and abuses people."
      • The lack of a moral center in any of the characters in this book, except for Nick Carraway, depicts the nature of the society in the period dubbed the Jazz Age.
    • How does it relate to Fitzgerald?
      • "Fitzgerald's view of the Twenties was serious and complex, for he recognized the glamour as well as the waste, the charm as well as the self-destruction."
      • Fitzgerald's writing brought in a solid income, but the couple's lifestyle took a toll. They drank heavily—him more than her—and fought viciously. Both flirted with other people.
      • The couple—like the rest of the nation—was living on borrowed time.


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