Following World War I, American society enjoyed high levels of prosperity during the "roaring" 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition made bootleggers rich and led to an increase in organized crime. During the 1920s a group of American writers were able to be recognized as the lost generation. The term "Lost Generation" was originally coined in a conversation by Gertrude Stein, a member of the expatriate circle in 1920's Paris. These men went off to fight in World War One, and returned home to find that things have changed. World War I seemed to have destroyed the idea that if you acted virtuously, good things would happen. Many good, young men went to war and died, or returned home either physically or mentally wounded. These writers were so discontent with the changes that many of them left America and went to Paris, France. In Paris, the Lost Generation writers expected to find ...view middle of the document...
It was all shattered by the war. As well as the glitter and potential of the Great Boom of the 1920's, which they now saw as American and money-based, and therefore corrupt and insincere. The Lost Generation was left bankrupt and only had the fleeting pleasures of alcohol and sexual promiscuity as comfort.
One of the more famous Lost Generation writers was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. F. Scott Fitzgerald idolized the riches and glory of the 1920s, but he dispised the increase in materalism and the lack of morality. One example of the lost of old traditional values were the flappers. These women were rebels who distingushed themselves from other women by drinking, smoking, treating sex as a causal matter and driving. This came as a shock for most of the men that went off to war and came back to find their women sexually active with other people. F. Scott Fitgerald came back from the first World War to find that Zelda Sayre did not want to marry him because he did not make enough money. It was only when F. Scott Fitgerald wrote his most popular book, This side of Paradise, did Zelda agree to marry him. In F. Scott Fitgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby, it protrays a man looking for a dream that was taken from him by the war. The man came back after the war to find that the woman he loved had already married someone else.
In 1926, Ernest Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises, a semi-autobiography based on his adventures in France and Spain in 1924-25. Despite the fact that his previous books received much criticism, this would be this novel that would gain him huge success and make him the leader of the so-called Lost Generation. Focusing on the events that took place between a group of American and Englishmen traveling from Paris to Pamplona, The Sun Also Rises was an immediate success and almost instantly became a bible for many lost individuals after it was published because it was the first piece of fictional literature that had fully captured the feelings of loss of moral and social tension shared by the Lost Generation.