Exploration of Identity in Midnight in Paris and The Sun Also Rises

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The theme of identity fits with both of these works, Midnight in Paris directed by Woody Allen and The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, in a most complete and eloquent way that connects with the culture of the 20th century. Midnight in Paris narrates the story of a script writer, Gil Pender, who is extremely nostalgic for the bygone era of the 1920’s; he later time travels back to that time and meets his literary heroes and comes to realize that one must take risks and allow themselves to love in order to live their life to the fullest. The Sun Also Rises focuses on the nihilism and the lack of meaning in Jake Barnes, the depressing narrator, and his companion’s lives. Both of these works focus on the meaning of life and the American ideals of happiness and contentment therefore connecting to the identity of Americana. Identity, as defined by Merriam - Webster’s Dictionary, is “sameness of essential or generic character in different instances”; both of these works discuss the meaning or rather meaningless of life and the interpretation of happiness. Moreover, both of these works focus on the identities of the Lost Generation, the generation who grew up during World War One, which was marked by their aimlessness and desire to fill their lives with meaningless debauchery. The theme of identity is clearly discussed in the movie Midnight in Paris by examining the inner identity of Gil Pender and his conflict between what is expected of him and his true self as a writer. He only truly discovers this identity through conversations with the Fitzgeralds, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali and discovers that he cannot maintain the expectations that are held to him by his fiancee, Inez, and her family. He finally realizes with his realization that “Adriana, if you stay here though, and this becomes your present then pretty soon you'll start imagining another time was really your... You know, was really the golden time. Yeah, that's what the present is. It's a little unsatisfying because life's a little unsatisfying.”; this goes on to expand on his realization that even though his life is unsatisfying, he must at least try to attain his general definition of happiness by living in Paris and leaving his fiancee.

The identity of Americana is centered around the independence of the person and it is seen in the self-discovery of Gil Pender. Additionally, identity is discussed in the novel, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway; however, the focus is on the Lost Generation and how their sense of aimlessness becomes their identity. The novel is narrated by Jake Barnes, a veteran of World War I, and through this narration we discover the relationships and mindsets of his contemporaries such as Brett Ashley, Robert Cohn and Bill Gorton. One quote that highlights this theme is: “You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.” which is spoken by Jake while speaking to Cohn. This quote expands on that the Lost Generation, which the characters in this book are part of, and their general lack of meaning in their lives and their inability to find aim. The Lost Generation did not have a complete sense of identity however they did bond over their general sense of loss and despair; they were also marked by a liking for the debauchery and drinking which is noted in the book as a way to deal with their despair. Identity is clearly seen in the book The Sun Also Rises in a multitude of ways. The theme of identity is seen in both of these works and is discussed thoroughly in relation to the Lost Generation and individual meaning. Both of these artistic works focus on the 1920’s and the explosion of culture and writing alongside a relaxation of moral standards. Identity is the core of the culture of Americana and one can see it discussed in the context of a group and in the sense of the single individual.

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Exploration of Identity in Midnight in Paris and The Sun Also Rises. (2020, December 14). WritingBros. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/exploration-of-identity-in-midnight-in-paris-and-the-sun-also-rises/
“Exploration of Identity in Midnight in Paris and The Sun Also Rises.” WritingBros, 14 Dec. 2020, writingbros.com/essay-examples/exploration-of-identity-in-midnight-in-paris-and-the-sun-also-rises/
Exploration of Identity in Midnight in Paris and The Sun Also Rises. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/exploration-of-identity-in-midnight-in-paris-and-the-sun-also-rises/> [Accessed 29 May 2024].
Exploration of Identity in Midnight in Paris and The Sun Also Rises [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Dec 14 [cited 2024 May 29]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/exploration-of-identity-in-midnight-in-paris-and-the-sun-also-rises/
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