Research Proposal: Modernism to "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

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¶ … Modernism to "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" and The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway. Also, define and explain the following ideas related to "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" and The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway: a) The Lost Generation b) A "true sentence" c) The Hemingway Code

Modernism was a reaction to the elaborate, ornate plots and language of the Victorian era. Modernism aspired to create a perception of realism in the mind of the reader, through the use of spare, unvarnished prose. Modernist writers such as Ernest Hemingway used a clear and direct narrative style that described physical details and the moment-by-moment stream of consciousness of individual characters, rather than deployed a didactic narrative, like the Victorian novelists who wished to add to a clear 'moral' element to their tales. In Hemingway's Modernist estimation, a true sentence was free of extraneous adjectives and adverbs, and 'showed' or reported, rather than told the reader what to think as well as see.

Modernism arose partly as a result of the spirit of 'The Lost Generation', the writers of Hemingway's generation who had suffered a crisis of confidence, a sense of a loss of meaning in their lives after traditional ways of proving themselves were found to be morally bankrupt. Religion was also seen as false: in a Hemingway short story both celebrating and deflating the power of alcohol, entitled "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," the story ends with the Lord's Prayer, only with 'nothing' (nada) replacing the word for God: "Our nada who art in nada…Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee."

The ideals of military life seemed shallow to the Lost Generation, after the cruel brutality exhibited in trench warfare during World War I. In The Sun Also Rises, almost all of the men of the novel are trying to find a way to be 'real men' after failing to find true masculinity in military service. Jake's service maimed him and gives him no sense of patriotic satisfaction. It also resulted in his becoming impotent before Lady Brett's desire. The sentimental nonveteran and Princeton student Robert Cohn is haunted by a sense of emasculation because of the prejudice he has experienced as a Jew, his comfortable lifestyle as a wealthy novelist, and his lack of military experience. He tries to make himself into a boxer to compensate for his own identity crisis. But Hemingway, in the novel, suggests that it is not only the Americans who are threatened by the new, modern ethos: even the great bullfighter Pedro Romero, the epitome of Hemingway Code of elemental masculinity, must be torn away from a romance with Lady Brett to realize his greatness.

Q2. In The Sun Also Rises, do you think Jake is truthful as the narrator? Describe his emotions while he tells the story. Is he jealous, angry, drunk, tolerant or impartial? Compare Jake and Cohn. Cite examples from the novel.

Jake is not a deliberately mendacious narrator: he does not try to purposely deceive the reader. However, as a narrator, he clearly is telling the story from his own point-of-view, and often consciously or unconsciously tries to ignore unpleasant aspects of life, like his impotence. All of the protagonists' love of alcohol clouds their memory at times. Jake… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Modernism to "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.  (2010, January 30).  Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/modernism-clean-well-lighted-place/483186

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"Modernism to "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place."  Essaytown.com.  January 30, 2010.  Accessed December 10, 2019.
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