Paper 3

9. Analyse the main literary trends in two countries of the region between the 1950s and 1920s

Cam Nguyen

Thesis: The literary trends in Cuba and the United States both were significantly influenced by contemporary history—Cuba yearning for independence from Spain and the United States reflecting its corruptions of the industrialization age, but unlike realism in the United States, romanticism in Cuba did not suffer the disillusionment brought by devastations of World War 1.

- Realism—the United States, 1890s to 1920s
• in response to disillusionment after WWI and dying conventional traditions
• break away from Romanticism (e. g. Moby Dick), which came to America from Europe and which emphasized human emotions
o Examples: [may be better to elaborate on two of them with specific connections to history]
o The Great Gatsby—F. Scott Fitzgerald/Babbitt—Sinclair Lewis
- the Lost Generation: rich upper-middle class pseudo-intellectuals who are shallow, conformity, lavish lifestyles, disillusionment with the American Dream as a result of rapid industrialization, emergence of business tycoons/big trusts and illegal business (made possible by the Gilded Age), and growing economy of the 1920s.
o Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—Mark Twain
- use colloquial phrases/grammar/vocabulary, rather than eloquent language employed by previous writers
- relationship between a white boy and a black man
- tackling “realistic” racism (racial prejudice, segregation, etc.) which dominated many parts of the south after the Civil War
o Maggie: A Girl of the Streets—Stephen Crane
- response to rapid industrialization in late 19th century and early 20th century
- realistically illustrating poverty, prostitution, and poor workers’ conditions in the cities

- Romanticism—Cuba, 1850s to 1920s
• imported from Europe
• in response to emerging nationalism
• promoting independence of Cuba from Spain and need for reforms such as women rights, abolition of slavery—central theme
o Examples of writers include José María Heredia, José Jacinto Milanes, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Cirilo Villaverde, etc.
• positive attitude towards life rather than focusing on sad emotions and self-destructive decisions prominent in European romanticism, and racial complexity
• attacking inequality

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