The Myth of a Nation: Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Corruption of the American Ideal
Daugherty, Kelly Carroll
The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY.
America's national image has long been personified by images of its so-called "founding fathers." Figures such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin drafted the classic representations of American social and individual ideals, those characterized by an abundance of access to prosperity, opportunity and possibility. Following the First World War, the viability of the prosperous and self-sufficient American life was called into question by the writers of the Lost Generation. Writing in postwar America, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald recognized a shift in the nation's values and self-image, and used their work to call attention to this social and cultural redefining. This project looks at Hemingway's In Our Time and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby in correlation with the writings of Jefferson and Franklin to make the argument that the two representative twentieth century authors utilize historical texts and dispositions to illustrate the corruption of past ideals in postwar America.