The Lost Generation

The Lost Generation
An Introduction to the Movement
Medford High School English Department
For use by all teachers
May 2012
The Lost Generation
• “That is what you are. That’s what you all
are…all of you young people who served in the
war. You are a lost generation.”
- Gertrude Stein
• “Who is calling who a lost generation?”
- Ernest Hemingway
Pictured: Gertrude Stein with Ernest Hemingway’s son, Jack
Essential Questions for the Unit
• How do writers employ tone, symbolism, and
other literary techniques to convey a theme in
American literature of the early 1900s?
• How does this literature reflect the American
experience after World War I?
The Lost Generation
• Term used to describe the generation of writers
active immediately after World War I (post 1920s)
• Gertrude Stein became famous for the using the
phrase, borrowed from a car mechanic’s criticism of
twenty-year-old slackers
• The phrase signifies a disillusioned postwar
generation characterized by…
▫ Lost values
▫ Lost belief in the idea of human progress
▫ A mood of futility and despair leading to hedonism
What else makes something a “Lost
Generation” story?
• Economy of Language
• Presence of War (overt or implied)
• “Iceberg Theory”
▫ You have to make inferences
Symbolism – colors, nature, etc.
Influence of European culture, art, etc.
Rejection of Victorian era style
Famous Writers of the Movement
• The Lost Generation mostly includes expatriate
writers who left the United States for Europe after
Ernest Hemingway
F. Scott Fitzgerald
T.S. Eliot
Ezra Pound
• You could also include writers who were heavily
influenced by these writers and/or WWI:
▫ William Carlos Williams
▫ Wilfred Owen
In a Station of the Metro
What does this imagery suggest?
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
How prominent is Icarus in this painting? What is the message that is conveyed?
• What defines our generation?
Music genres
The quintessential writers
Life-altering events
Developments in technology
Human rights
Tonight’s Homework
• Do a little internet research on the Lost
• Write a side-by-side bullet point comparison of
the Lost Generation and our generation.
• Shoot for at least ten points, and try to have each
column correspond with the other.
• Cite your sources.
• Information from and
www.poetsorg was used in the creation of this
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