"The Great Depression Is Our Lives". Busted Boomers and Identity Crises in Generation X, American Psycho and Fight Club

GRIN Verlag
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Thesis (M.A.) from the year 2004 in the subject American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: sehr gut, Technical University of Braunschweig, 47 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: “We don’t have a great war in our generation, or a great depression, but we do, we have a great war of the spirit. We have a great revolution against the culture. The great depression is our lives. We have a spiritual depression.” This is what the nameless narrator of Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel Fight Club says to define his generation, the age group which has alternately been labeled as ‘Baby Bust Generation,’ ‘MTV Generation,’ ‘Invisible Generation,’ or ‘Generation X.’ All of these terms apply to the birth cohort of the years 1961 to 1981. Since these young people are described by generational scholars as the most diverse generation in sociological history, it is not surprising that there are difficulties in finding one common label to define this birth group. The opening quote shows that the young people of this birth group seem to be in a spiritual crisis because they no longer have to fight in wars, they do not have to fight for causes – in short, they do not have to struggle through extreme situations as most generations before them had to do. Instead, they live in a world in which everything seems to be at the ready for them: tons of shopping malls and supermarkets that contain anything one can possibly think of or wish for. Yet, they experience a spiritual crisis. As many members of older generations may now well ask: How can a world of seemingly endless choices and resources be so disturbing as to throw a whole generation into crisis? Three novels that deal with the identity crisis of Generation X are analysed: Generation X. Tales for an Accelerated Culture (1991) by Douglas Coupland, American Psycho (1991) by Bret Easton Ellis, and Fight Club (1996) by Chuck Palahniuk. According to studies of Generation X literature, these three novels are typical of their time, as they deal with postmodern, or rather, consumerist culture. Hence, life in the postmodern condition presents the characters of the novels with questions and problems to which there is no definite answer. They struggle with a fragmented world and therefore, the novels show that whereas the generations preceding the Xer birth cohort had issues or events of historical scope and impact that bound them together as a birth group, it seems that the issue that binds Generation X together is their struggle with the culture they live in.
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Publisher
GRIN Verlag
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Published on
Mar 7, 2006
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Pages
89
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ISBN
9783638476331
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Linguistics / General
Literary Collections / American / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Seminar paper from the year 2003 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1, Technical University of Braunschweig, 12 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Allen Ginsberg’s reputation as a major poet is now secure; he has outlived the other major poets of mid-century with whom he is frequently compared, such as Charles Olson, Robert Lowell, and Frank O’Hara, who with Ginsberg make up a core of writers that revolutionized the writing of American verse in the 1950s. [...] Each of these major writers gave to the main currents of verse his own unique voice and intelligence, but it was Ginsberg especially who seems to have awakened America’s youth to the powers of poetry to make stirring prophecies and to reinvigorate the spheres of politics and ideology (Christensen 215). Allen Ginsberg was part of the Beat generation, a group of young authors, among them Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and John Clellon Holmes, who created a new and unconventional kind of literature. Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” is the most popular example of the innovative and provocative writing this group produced. Whereas Robert Lowell and other confessional poets wrote about their lives in a need to confess what was on their minds, Ginsberg went one step further and confessed the sins of a whole generation. “Howl” is a combination of autobiography , apocalyptic vision, catharsis, and prophecy. So what makes Allen Ginsberg and his poetry special? How was it possible that he awakened America’s youth and reinvigorated the political spheres? Why is his reputation as a major poet secure? How did he revolutionize poetry? In which way can he be called a prophet? And if he indeed was a prophet of his times, is his literary work consequently poetry or prophecy? In order to scrutinize this question the goals of the Beat generation have to be defined: how was the term ‘beat’ coined? In the Beat movement, Ginsberg represented the prototype of a Beat writer and later became the guru of America’s youth. His tone of voice when reading “Howl” and his literary concept for his poetry illustrate the prophetic character of his work. For that matter, the book analyzes the three parts of “Howl” with regard to its rhythm and imagery.
Seminar paper from the year 2002 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics, grade: 2+ (B), Technical University of Braunschweig (English Seminar), 22 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Women are more emotional than men, they speak in a different way than men, but how are they spoken about? Throughout the last century there has been a lot of discussion concerning language and gender. Mainly, linguists have focused on the different discourse strategies and conversational styles of women and men, that is, they dealt with the difference of women’s and men’s language. Sexism became an important point of discussion in the 1960s, and especially feminist critiques have discussed the sexist representation of women in language. Many linguists tried to find alternatives for features of language that discriminate against women, and thus sought to correct existing sex biases. In a time where the inequality of the sexes is said to have diminished, the anti-sexism movement seems to have decreased, as well. People try to speak in a politically correct way, a way that is not sexist or racist, but certain stereotypes are nevertheless still part of the language system. This can be seen when taking a closer look at the media, which plays an important role in the process of language development. Newspapers articles, for example, have to be objective and without bias, but as they employ language that is politically correct with regard to common language usage, they reflect the language of a society. Consequently, the media is a rich source for analysis when it comes to examining to what extent sexism is still an issue today. Has the feminist fight against male supremacy been without effect? The author discusses if sexism in language has diminished and how it is dealt with. Therefore, sexist language is defined and the relationship to society with the help of several linguistic approaches. As part of this, the different features of sexist language, such as derogatory designations for women, the generic masculine, feminine markers, and the problem of personal titles are explained. Furthermore, the role of the media in context with sexist language is depicted and is put in relation to sexism in newspapers, by listing some rules established by the Associated Press that intend to help journalists deal with sexist features of language. Finally, articles from The Washington Post are analyzed to examine if sexist language is still perpetuated.
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