Reading Hemingway to Inspire a New Year

During winter break, I began reading Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. The book is set in the mid-1920s and focuses on the generation of post World War I. Hemingway centers the book’s theme around Gertrude Stein’s quote, “You are all a lost generation,” and the quotation from Ecclesiastes: “One generation passeth away, and another generation cIMG_0662ometh: but the earth abideth forever…The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose.” Hemingway uses the quotes to imply that the generation of post World War I is not completely lost, but instead, enduring through the hard times. As I read the book, one line in particular stood out to me from the beginning; Hemingway writes, I cant stand to think my life is going so fast and Im not really living it. It reminded me of a quote by one of my favorite American dancers, Isadora Duncan, who lived from the late 1800s to 1927. Duncan said, “People don’t live nowadays: they get about ten percent out of life.” Duncan tragically died a year after The Sun Also Rises was published close to the book’s setting in France. I realized that life is what you make it, and maybe with the right perspective, life does not have to move so fast. Hemingway’s book was written ninety years ago, but I believe that he not only depicted one of the misfortunes of the age, but also one that withstands time. No matter what era one lives in or the difficulties one faces, one is always caught in the same predicament – Am I living my best life, despite all that is happening in the world?

It is the beginning of a new year, 2016, and I can assure you that if you ask anyone what their new year’s resolutions are, most will answer that one is to live a better life or live more. In the recent calamities of the past year, including the terrorist attacks, many hope to make the most out of life in 2016 and hope for peace and unity. Others recognize that their personal need is to live life and enjoy it to the hilt, even if it means taking risks. My hope for the world in 2016 is to live, not at ten percent, but completely. Ultimately, maybe lives will become better and find fulfillment. I hope that the new generation will not become lost, but enduring and thriving. In doing so, maybe the world will become a better place. 2016 is a new year, and perhaps it will become a new age.

Sarah Dunlap

About Sarah Dunlap

I am a Pittsburgh native and an English major and Communications minor at Nyack College Rockland Campus. I am a devoted dancer, avid reader, and an aspiring writer. "Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath
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