Friday, March 21, 2014

The Generation that Lost More than an Identity

As I progress with my thoughts and ideas on this assignment, I feel like I am faced with more and more questions. So, for this build I tried to put the basics into the paper. I thought of it as a Reader Response Paper and analyzed the basics of my argument. I still have a long way to go, but I'm getting closer. I think I'm going to edit what I have already before I submit my "build" for enthusiasts to read. Luckily, I have already found a few enthusiasts from which I could receive some very constructive feedback. The thought of having people read what I have is motivation enough for me to take this seriously. I have to step up my game, so to speak. I'm excited to see what I will learn in class today and from my enthusiast pals.
Some of the questions I still have are whether or not my thoughts are organized clearly. I feel like I'm still a little jumbled. Does it make sense that the circumstances of the story lead to a search for identity and a loss of innocence? Should I include for character analysis? What is missing? Here's what I've got so far:

The Generation that Lost More than an Identity
Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises beautifully captures the everyday struggles of a few people who belonged to the Lost Generation. As the main characters aimlessly glide through life, the reader witnesses how their circumstances and situation affect their awful decisions. As they search to find meaning and identity that has been lost in their new and changing world, the characters in The Sun Also Rises end up exposed to the cruelty of the world while simultaneously forfeiting their innocence.
The writers from the famous Lost Generation suffered from the consequences of the Great War during the 1920’s. 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.
The Sun Also Rises is really a story about two characters, Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. Their love story is unique in the way that it revolves around the irony of their situation. Jake escaped the angel of death that rested patiently over the battlefields of the Western Front. However, Jake could not avoid a certain injury that has left him sexually impotent. Lady Brett Ashley, on the other hand, is infamous for her infidelity and sexual adventurousness. Jake and Brett share a mutual admiration that could even be described as love, but Jake’s inability to have a sexual relationship is the main obstacle that lies between them. The irony of a sex addict falling in love with an impotent man sets the scene for these two complex people as they search for meaning, identity, and fulfillment.
Jake and Brett realize that they could never give each other those things they desire from their relationship. Jake desires some sort of mutual exclusiveness and fidelity, and Brett desires the passionate physical benefits. They remain close friends, but their situation forces them to run from reality as they strive to find some sort of meaning in the world. In an attempt to escape the cruel reality, the characters are taken on an adventure that leads them from lively streets of Paris to the peaceful mountain rivers of the Pyrenees, and ultimately the bull rings of Pamplona. No matter how far they travel, no matter how distracted they become, Jake and Brett cannot outrun their reality.
Their adventures lead them to circumstances where our protagonists are forced to come to terms with their identity. As they search for meaning in artificial vices, they come to terms with the truth of their situation. Jake must face the fact that his idea of manhood as rugged masculinity is no longer an option. He can either submit to the truth that Brett could take on some of those gender roles, or he can remain to live an unfulfilling live. Likewise, Brett must face the truth that her desires for sexual intimacy impede her ability to live happily with Jake. Their neglect of these truths leads them down dangerous paths that eventually result in a loss of innocence.

1 comment:

  1. Have you considered including something about how the characters are running from reality in your thesis? I feel like that's what you were talking about more than a loss of innocence and identity. Maybe if you included more character analysis, the whole innocence/identity thing would be more clear? Or if you focused more on the empty things they do to lose their innocence and identity, it could be clearer also.