In the search for hope for the protagonists of “The Sun Also Rises” Is there any hope for the Lost Generation?
Do the title of the novel and the seemingly hopeful epigraph indicate that the Lost Generation still have the possibility to regain any of the values they have lost during the WW1? The epigraph to “The Sun Also Rises” contains a quote from Gertrude Stein, saying: “You are all a lost generation”. This proclamation is juxtaposed with the passage from the beginning of the Book of Ecclesiastes: “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever”. The message of the former quote clearly conveys that the WW1 generation, of which Jake Barns, Robert Cohn, Brett Ashley and Mike Campbell are the representatives, is forever deprived of moral, emotional, spiritual and physical values. On the other hand, the latter passage gives a lot of hope: “The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.” This statement, from which the title of the novel comes, as well as the content of the whole Book of Ecclesiastes, may be the reason for upholding this hope, the hope given by the rising Sun, the hope of forever abiding Earth. It is a common knowledge that war - “the calamity for civilization”, as the narrator Jake names it - disorganises or even destroys human’s inner life, his priorities, his code of values; that war causes a lot of chaos in the way one perceives oneself as well as others; that war deprives man of dignity and (self-)respect. The lives of the (dis)affiliates of the Lost Generation, who have gone through the tragedy of the World War1, epitomise this universal truth. They are constantly coping with finding themselves in the world after the war. It is highly probable that the ethics and morality for them is to be found in the book of Ecclesiastes
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