How does the term "lost generation" appear in The Great Gatsby? Through which characters?

Expert Answers info

Bridgett Sumner, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookM.A. from Hofstra University


calendarEducator since 2016

write1,627 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

The term "lost generation" was coined by Gertrude Stein and quoted by Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. It is used to describe the generation who reached adulthood during World War I and the disorientation and restlessness they felt in the postwar period. A group of expatriate American writers living in Europe in the 1920s was a part of the generation and wrote about this condition, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, who had desired to be a soldier but never saw combat.

The lost generation lost its faith in the ideals of the American dream; the senseless waste of human life in the war and the declining morality observable in society afterward gave rise to the Roaring 20s and a rejection of previous social taboos. Decadence in social and sexual behavior can be seen in Tom Buchanan's many affairs, most notably with the married Myrtle Wilson. George Wilson seems to be the only character in the novel who still believes in the American dream: he aspires to be a successful entrepreneur, and he is...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1,070 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write6,943 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Edith Sykes eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write1,721 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

timbrady eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write857 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial