Saturday, March 29, 2014

What Will Define Us?

After writing my last blog post about Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, I was trying to come up with another topic for my next post. I'm currently, and finally, reading Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (yes, the one that was made into a movie with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper). I'm only about halfway through, so I couldn't really come up with a specific topic regarding the novel. So I kind of looked over at my book shelf to see if I could find another novel to write about. I saw It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. The main character of Silver Linings Playbook suffers from and was hospitalized for bipolar disorder. The main character of It's Kind of a Funny Story was hospitalized for depression. 
The Lost Generation was still on my mind from my last post. I think most would agree that much of the literature that was produced by members of that generation can be characterized by disillusionment caused by World War I. That got me thinking, what will define or characterize the literature produced by our generation? Well, two out of the two books I thought about over about a thirty second time span centered around mental illness. Obviously, it's not like mental illness is a new thing that's special only to our generation. However, I thought for a moment, maybe the literature produced by our generation will be defined by it's willingness to break down barriers or to destroy certain stigmas within society, like the stigmas that have surrounded depression, bipolar disorder, ect. Like I said, this was only a fleeting thought, because then I thought, can't that define the literature of every generation in someway or another? 
I suppose there could be some defining characteristic of the literature produced in the last decade or so that I'm completely missing, which could potentially be quite embarrassing. Trying to look at things from the outside isn't necessarily easy. I must say though, I really hope the expansion of and dependance on technology isn't our generation's defining characteristic. That would be a bummer.


Miranda Martinez said...

I love Silver Linings Playbook! That's one of my favorite novels. Jennifer Lawrence did such a great job in it.

Samantha Gillen said...

I hope our generations literature isn't defined by technology, too. I hate the obsession our generation has with technology, especially with social media... blah! I see the point you make about the prevalence of illness and disease in today's literature. To expand upon that idea, I think a great amount of TV shows, movies, and novels produced today center around this concept of the apocalypse. For example, World War Z and The Walking Dead. Many trending novels also focus on utilitarian societies gone bad like The Hunger Games and Divergent. Although, I guess utilitarian novels can be traced to Huxley's Brave New World all the way back in 1932. The idea is definitely resurfacing, though.

Megan Hoolahan said...

I definitely think that our generation has a fixation on dystopian and science fiction novels. Many popular novels also belong to series. I think that our generation has really become obsessed with the idea of making series instead of just one good book. Every time there is a good series, a movie version soon follows. For example, Harry Potter, Divergent, Hunger Games, Twilight, etc..... I'm not claiming that these novels are great literature, but I do think our generation will be remembered for them.