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Social Life

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Social Life

The aftermath of the Civil War made a mark on writers during the era. The occurrences and reconstruction of America had changed some writing to shift from realism to depicting social life in literature. The view of many writers focused on the effects of the war like death, sadness, and people confronted with poverty. This is followed up with the Great Depression and World War I. People saw war first hand in bombings, killing, murders, and voracity. A group of writers chose this as their theme.

Edgar Lee Masters reflected the small town life with the poem, “Abel Melveny.” The narrator (Abel) is telling a story about his machine collection. He is actually dead but looking back on how his life occurred. Masters wrote of this death, which Abel considered himself like a machine right before he dies. Abel was like a new machine (meaning when Abel was young) and now as a machine gets old, Abel got old and died. No one has any use for old rusted like machines, which Abel compared himself to, who did nothing except deteriorate into ruins.

Ezra Pound poem, “A Pact” is written to Walt Whitman to help start an imagism movement. Ezra is asking Whitman about their pact, “I make a pact with you” (p.1285, line 1) which will begin to change the writing in literature in those days. His word choice and imagism helped his movement. Ezra uses a strong tone towards Whitman to indicate he means business. He needed Walt to help in the creation of new, different way of writing. Ezra also uses the metaphor, “We have one sap and one root” (p. 1285, line 8) to symbolize their uniting together to make the new movement possible.

T.S. Eliot helped in Pounds movement toward imagism. Eliot wrote a poem, “The Hollow Men” because of the death and destruction caused during the War and Great Depression. The poem was written about the poor decisions of a group of people who tried to blow up a place in Europe. Eliot talks about a scarecrow and how its head is hollow. The scarecrow’s straw filled head represents society and how sometimes people do things without thinking. Eliot uses “we” for the group who will die. They whisper, but because of what they tried to do nobody will listen. He uses the Lord’s Prayers; in light that even though death is the consequence God will hear and save their soul when it passes over to the other side.

E.E Cummings poem “next to of course god America I” shows a man who is talking about fallen soldiers. The man is talking about America and the pride and dignity one gets for dying for their country. Cummings takes this and twists it. The poet takes the heroicness and signifies you are brave for fighting for America and dying for patriotism. He insists you are dumb for not using your head or common sense and instead of walking away from death; you walk straight into death, which you would sacrifice to be admired upon your death bed. Cummings who was in a prison camp believes people should use their brain to think and voice an opinion or think otherwise especially when it comes to death.

Dorothy Parker, “Resume” was written because during her childhood growing up most of the adults in her life died. She wrote about death and this poem is about suicide. She attempted to commit suicide in her adult days. The lack of education she had and the death of all that cared for her got to her. Parker’s poem talks about the different ways she tried to kill herself and the fact that those ways are not good enough for a suicide. She unveils the excuses of why she would not go through with it. She complains about the reasons why she would not commit the deed and what a hassle it is to kill yourself. Since Parker could not go through with it, her last sentence “You might as well live” helps to say that death is not the way to go and even though it is a great escape she would rather bare the reality and stay alive.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about his life and used some of his own life in, “Babylon Revisited.” This story is about a man (Wales) who

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