Hemingway\'s "In Our Time": Lost Generation


"The times, they are a changing," famous words spoken by Bob Dylan, a
king of his generation. "Lost generations," is an interesting phrase, but what
kind of meaning should it hold? Ernest Hemingway\'s In Our Time is a true
representation of a "lost generation" for the simple reason that all generations
are eventually lost as time goes by. Hemingway focuses on a generation he knows
a great deal about- his own. It becomes apparent throughout the novel that
Hemingway is trying to give the reader a feel for what times were like(or at
least what he wanted or perceived them to be like) and knowingly or maybe even
somewhat inadvertently conveys a message about the time period in question. All
of the "messages" bring the reader to an understanding of a generation, the
"lost generation" that appears to result from Hemingway\'s novel.
Ernest Hemingway uses intense short stories to leave a feeling of awe
and wonder in the reader of In Our Time. One begins to become emotionally
involved and attached to Hemingway\'s many stories, just as he himself appears to
hold some personal attachment and emotion to each story. One could even
speculate that In Our Time\'s main character Nick, is in fact, Hemingway himself.
It seems as though no matter what age this novel is read at, it could be
discussed as a representation of the "lost generation." What is meant by the
phrase "lost generation?" Possibly it means the loss of a kindlier, friendlier,
period of time. Maybe it means a loss of familiarity, closeness and strength of
relationships; everyday things like the lost art of conversation. But at the
same time, the characters in the stories appear to be part of a "lost
generation" themselves. In "The Three- Day Blow," Nick and Bill spend a
leisurely afternoon talking about baseball and books while enjoying a good
"ole\'" bottle of Irish whiskey. They manage to pass the time talking rather than
watching "television" or going to the "mall," things that are all too common
today. This leisure time seems like a pastime that has all been but outlawed in
today\'s fast paced modern society. They seem to get by on nothing else but their
own company and do not adhere to any outside interference- they do not need any
other means of entertainment to enhance their time together. It is just the two
of them and a good bottle of whiskey- no more, no less. Hemingway\'s stories seem
to have a vintage, old- fashioned kind of feel to them, but at the same time
portray and somewhat relate to modern times. They all seem to have some kind of
moral dilemma or moral awareness in them. All the characters appear to be
searching for something, although they are not all consciously aware of what or
where or even why fate has brought them to the place in time they are in. "Cat
in the Rain" depicts a so- called happily married couple on some sort of a
vacation in Spain, spending a day inside(apparently by the husband\'s choice) due
to the bad weather. The wife seems to be searching for something to fill a void
inside of her. She speaks of a cat in the rain- her answer to the void(or so she
thinks). She goes down to retrieve it but cannot find it. She tells her
disinterested about the event. It is clear that it is indeed her husband that
has created the void due to the lack of attention he pays to his wife. The cat
is simply a metaphor for her needs. Suddenly, there is a knock at the door and a
maid appears with a cat in her hands. The manager downstairs gave it to her,
finally, someone who would pay her the attention she craved. This story seemed
to represent the "lost generation" of love between a husband and his wife and
ended with a bitter twist showing how easy it was to find attention from someone
or somewhere else. This story depicted the deterioration of marriage in Western
society and how two people can easily grow apart in a big world. Another lost
generation.
The phrase "lost generation" can be highly speculated on and can be
interpreted in many ways. For instance, in chapter 13, the short story "My Old
Man," seems to bring about much emotion. This story is told by a man\'s son(Joe),
who talks about what living with his father was like. He exhibits a great amount
of pride and compassion towards his father and their lifestyle.