Monday, March 17, 2014

The Chicken or the Egg...

The writers of the Lost Generation suffered from the consequences of the Great War. They were troubled at the apparent lack of inherent human goodness and felt disappointed with social structures like religion and family. They often searched for meaning and identity in artificial things like sex, liquor, and adventure. These experiences most always led to a loss of innocence.
Hemingway and Friends (Wikipedia)

Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises beautifully captures the every day struggle of a few of these people from the Lost Generation. The main character, Jake Barnes, slowly comes to terms with his loss of identity while kneeling in a Spanish church:

[…] as all the time I was kneeling with my forehead on the wood in front of me, and was thinking of myself as praying, I was a little ashamed, and I regretted that I was such a rotten Catholic, but realized there was nothing I could do about it, at least for a while and maybe never, but that anyway it was a grand religion, and I only wished I felt religious and maybe I would the next time […].

My question is this: Did the Lost Generation suffer at the hands of the changing world to which they belonged, or did their own selfish desires produce their feelings of disenfranchisement from society? Basically, are they being acted upon or are they suffering from their actions? Does their situation motivate their actions, or do their actions determine their situation?

I plan on circulating this to a classmate from a different English class and to a few of my acquaintances who are English majors in Colorado.
Pamplona, Spain (Wikipedia)

1 comment:

  1. This is so interesting, and I think it's a great way to discover more about your topic. I think it will be cool to find out different people's answers to these questions and see if it correlates with their religious, cultural, educational, and other backgrounds.