WWI and American LiteratureHow did WWI affect American Literature as reguards themes and style? How did it affect american writers??

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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World War I definiely had an impact on American writing, because it affected the entire generation raised during and directly after the war. This is how we got the romantic literature of the roaring twenties, and realistic literature to follow. There were a lot of broken people during the Great Depresson as well, and the literature began to reflect that pain, but it was directly related to to WWI.
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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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World War I was a horrific war.  There was much disillusionment as expressed by Erich Maria Remarque in his novel All Quiet on the Western Front.  Regarding  Ernest Hemingway, his themes often express this disillusionment and a certain futility.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Some of Hemingway's plain, simple, no-nonsense method of writing may have been influenced by his experiences in the war -- a war that did not lend itself to romanticization. Hemingway's style was partly shaped by his experience as a journalist, but little in World War I would have encouraged him to adopt a more flowery, elaborate style.

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professoraj | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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An interesting book to consider here is Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow (It was made into a musical).  It opens in 1902 and ends with the death of Arch Duke Ferdinand.  Could be an interesting piece to study by way of comparing life before WWI and life in the years after--BIG changes!  Also, there may be nothing better for pre-war, war, post-war literature than the USA trilogy by John Dos Passos.  Almost no one reads him and the material and style is brilliant.

To be sure, Remarque's novel is a must read, as is Hemingway.  As it gets traction with critics and schools consider that The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) is also post WWI.  Keep in mind the later folks mentioned here expatriated themselves to Europe for a time following the war.

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