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. Alcohol Jazz 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 WWI: ▫ ▫ ▫ ▫ 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? Generations • 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 Generation. • 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. Sources • Information from www.pbs.org and www.poetsorg was used in the creation of this website.