The presentation of The Lost Generation in The Great Gatsby and Stoner College

The American Avant-Garde poet Gertrude Stein once commented that “You are all a lost generation!” in reference to post-World War One society. Immortalized in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, the phrase has come to symbolize a unique generation in America that came of age in the 1920s. After the war, previous social norms and values were shattered and quickly replaced by this generation, allowing America to be a hotbed for cultural, political and economic change, as epitomized by the greater equality for women during the jazz age. This tumultuous period provides the setting that encompasses the protagonists of both The Great Gatsby and Stoner. Defined by their lack of purpose , those that were a part of the lost generation are often presented as directionless and emotionally empty, due to the widespread loss of life that they had recently experienced. However, some may argue that the characters within these two American novels do not adhere to such narrow personality descriptions, but instead offer an ageless comment on the depth and shallowness of human nature, and resilience in times of rapid change. They may reject the idea that the characters within The Great Gatsby and Stoner grew up to ‘find all Gods dead, all wars fought,...

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