Lost Generation vs Beat Generation

2771 Words Jun 11th, 2013 12 Pages
A Comparison between Ernest Hemingway and Jack Kerouac in Context of their Corresponding Literary Periods


While reading Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road I have noticed that the author Ernest Hemingway is mentioned quite often in the book. This has raised my interest to focus my research on the following.
For the purpose of this paper I would like to take a closer look at Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road, in context of the Beat Generation, in comparison to Ernest Hemingway, the leader of the Lost Generation. This paper tries to show the differences and the agreements between the two literary streams and how it influenced the two particular authors. Therefore, the paper starts with a definition of the Lost Generation and
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Autobiographies were considered to be essential during the literary period of the 1920’s and as Philippe Lejeune claims,”the author, the narrator, and the protagonist must be identical” (Monk, 10). By means of this particular genre, those writers found a way to communicate with the mass audience (Monk 14). The authors of the Lost Generation even defined themselves by their autobiography and their involvement with each other, because they shared the same motives and their time of experience abroad. Those autobiographies functioned as a question of identity for Lost Generation writers, because they interpreted their existence as meaningless, after the war. Jack Kerouac’s novel On the road also shares some autobiographical aspects, because the narrator tells its own personal story, which is actually referring to the author himself; basically, Sal is a real-life person. The book’s content is based on real-life events of Jack Kerouac. The narrator somehow functions as an alter ego. In the novel, the narrator, Sal Paradise, a young dissatisfied man, who broke with communities and suffers from the depression of World War II, reflects the feelings of Jack Kerouac and simultaneously the ones of a whole generation. Both, this novel and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises stand for the mood and the feelings of their particular generation. On the Road functions as a reflection and a portrait of the Beat Generation, same as Hemingway’s novel did

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