Lost Generation

Topics: Beat Generation, Meaning of life, Gender role Pages: 6 (2347 words) Published: February 20, 2011
Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway represent their inner state and feelings at the time they lived through their novels. Ernest Hemingway corresponds to the “Lost Generation” of 1920’s and Jack Kerouac corresponds to the “Beat Generation” of 1950’s. Both of these generations were after wars. It is not coincidence, wars make people devastated and lost. People tried to overcome problems and pain through literature and music. Writers put all their emotions on the paper, musicians wrote songs, which described the hard time they had. These two generations produced the most talented writers of our days. For us it seems that there was no big deal to write such openly, but if we try to go back to the time of these authors, we will understand how brave they were to write about the truth.

In these two post war eras people tried to redefine their place in society and that we see this through gender role and relationships among men and women. Generally though you find the redefinitions in “The Sun Also Rises” to be pessimistic, but while “On the Road” they tend to be optimistic. Woman is given high importance in Hemingway’s novel, whereas Kerouac introduced women with less importance.

These authors have differences and similarities in their novels. Both of them wrote in a post war eras, both of them described people’ s lifestyles, both of them introduced new view on the gender roles at that time. But, Hemingway wrote with the pessimistic view on life, whereas Kerouac believed in a meaning of life, yet to be found.

Hemingway wrote, “The Sun Also rises” after the First World War during the “Lost Generation”. The war changed the perception of morality and justice. The traditional values and the roles of gender changed. This book pictures true story of what happened to the society and how gender roles changed. Before the war, “true women” were characterized as religious and obedient to their men. Women looked after their families, cooked, and did not worked out in public sphere. On the contrast men were portrayed as the ones who earned money, worked out in public sphere and had control over women. After the war, those roles changed. As men left for war, women had to work and earn money just to feed their families, so that they started to occupy the workplace that was once for men only. Women were able not only to work, but also supply their families without men. As men came back after the war felt that women were not so different from them, and that they were not weaker than them. This created trouble for men; they were lost; they could not differentiate themselves from women. As time passed men started to associate themselves with the group of men, which did not differentiate themselves from women – homosexuals. They did this step, because they felt that women threatened their identities’. So, the traditional view of men and women changed.

For example, Hemingway redefined the view on masculinity and femininity with introducing Brett and Jake. Even the name – Brett sounds masculine, as the behavior of Brett throughout the book. Brett is an image of women of the “Lost Generation”. She is strong and she is free to do what she wants to do. She drinks as much as man drinks, she goes to bloody bullfights, and she often changes her partners. Before the war, there were established boundaries in marriage and sex, as men could cheat, but women would never do that, as they represented obedient wives and good mothers. Brett is married and she cheated with other men. Brett loved Jake, but she could not be with him, so that she accepted her life as it is. She continued to live without meaning, she did not have family, she slept with different men, she did not love, and she did not change anything in her life. On the contrary, Jake came back after the war wounded. He was feminized not only emotionally, but also physically. He was less of man with his impotency. Jake was in love with Brett, but because of his injury he is rejected by her. He...
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