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Which is also why some lesser-known works by Fitzgerald are so important.
posits that “logically, one supposes, there’s no reason why a language devised by man should be inadequate to describe any of man’s works.
The difficulty was in admitting that the war had been made by man and was being continued ad infinitum by them” (170).* While there is much debate and discussion over the “official” definition and dates of Modernism, we cannot overlook WWI and the ways it changed literary language.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, and Hemingway would not approve. In the opening lines of “The Crack-Up,” Fitzgerald states, “Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work—the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from the outside—the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once.” This sentence, packed with dense ideas, changed the way Fitzgerald’s contemporaries viewed him and perhaps the way he viewed himself; he was no longer the debonair socialite with an acute talent for observing human behavior in social interactions but a broken, troubled man. the external with “the big sudden blows…that seem to come from the outside”.
As mentioned earlier, the majority of WWI and interwar literature focused on factors external to the human psyche: facts, figures, patriotism, illustrations of events and scenes while Modernists focused on the internal process that happens long after such events take place: “the ones” that “don’t show their effect all at once.” Second, it hints at the idea of life as a continuous process of breaking down, which, if applied globally, speaks to war as a natural part of humanity, which goes against Fussell’s claims of the inadequacy of language to describe it.
Yet much of the poetry to come out of World War I was still focused on the collective “we” and the broader identifiers (things like “English,” “American,” “French,” “German,” “Homefront,” “Trenches”), and non-fiction remained largely historical and fact-based (which is to say, external).
Writers of fiction, on the other hand, delved into the internal workings of the individual brain.
Fussell points out that in real correspondence, WWI soldiers in the trenches would make use of the passive voice in order to create a sort of narrative distance.
For example, Fussell says that a soldier might write in passive voice “A very odd sight was seen here,” instead of using the active voice with “I saw …” to “avoid designating themselves as agents of nasty or shameful acts” (177).
For example, Freud’s work with WWI veterans and dreams helped fuel the movement’s interest in the human subconscious and psyche, leading writers to approach their realities and experiences through metaphor, mythology, internal monologues, and even dream sequences, as in Wilfred Owen’s “Strange Meeting.” In addition, the Great War stripped young authors—many of whom would shape the Modernist movement of interwar literature—of their idealism.
Included in this group was titan of the twenties, F.