Thesis: Ernest Hemingway and the Lost Generation

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Ernest Hemingway and "The Lost Generation"

Ernest Hemingway is probably the most author of his time connected to the phrase the lost generation. Because the lost generation is associated with individuals, particularly writers, that fled the disillusionment of United States and the American Dream after the war. Alienation and deterioration is a defining theme of the literature to emerge from the man that made the phrase lost generation popular. Two stories that emphasize this theme are "A Very Short Story" and "Hills Like White Elephants." These stories involve relationship that are headed nowhere and are about characters that seemed to be filled with a hopelessness that cannot be remedied. Love does not conquer all, and as these stories illustrate, sometimes it only makes life more complicated. It might bring people together initially, but it eventually leads to alienation because people are inherently selfish and finicky. Without an insurmountable strength, relationship will end disintegrate. Hemingway captures this sentiment perfectly with these two stories.

The couple is facing the degeneration of their relationship before it actually has time to blossom. We read, "They wanted to get married, but there was not enough time for the banns, and neither of them had birth certificates. They felt as though they were married, but they wanted everyone to know about it, and to make it so they could not lose it" (Hemingway). Here we see that Hemingway is situating the couple for loss. Furthermore, after they are separated, the man does not receive Luz's letters. In addition, Luz will not agree to come to the states until her boyfriend has a "good job" (Hemingway). Their relationship is headed for further disintegration when the quarrel and never reconcile things before saying goodbye. They essentially go their separate ways with the man going "to America on a boat from Genoa. Luz went back to Pordonone to open a hospital" (Hemingway). Separation is never a good thing, as most long-distance relationships never work out. Luz finds another man, a major, who makes love to her. This experience obviously affects her as we are told that she "had never known Italians before" (Hemingway). The ultimate deterioration of the relationship is when the man contracts gonorrhea. The details of how it happens only reinforce the nature of the hopeless relationship for he got the disease "from a sales girl in a loop department store while riding in a taxicab through Lincoln Park" (Hemingway). The final result is pain for both characters as neither one gets what they want.

In "Hills like White Elephants," we see the same type of disintegration and alienation between individuals. Jig is faced with an impossible dilemma in that whatever she decides to do, nothing will be the same. She understands that if she has the abortion,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Ernest Hemingway and the Lost Generation."  Essaytown.com.  December 18, 2008.  Accessed November 12, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/ernest-hemingway-lost-generation/1189.