"Perhaps America": Changing American Culture in the Lives of Four Authors in the 1920s
The twenties were characterized by a general feeling of ambivalence, by both an exuberance and an emptiness. Having just come out of the bloodiest war America had ever seen, "the country had had to go through a period of restlessness and irritability, but was finally learning how to relax and amuse itself once more." However, a “sense of disillusionment remained." Those in the Lost Generation could not quite shake the horrors of what they had experienced, and so the country felt both as though it ought to mourn the past and live in the present. The author explores these conflicts through the work of four authors that represent a diverse cross section in terms of gender, age, race and class: Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein. All four authors were popular in the 1920s and remain popular today. The author considers five social issues: consumerism and class; race; gender; sexuality; and religion.