Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Romanticism and Realism in War Stories :: Romantic Period Essays

Romanticism and Realism in War Stories Tom Brokaw called the people who lived through World War II (WWII) â€Å"The Greatest Generation†, where he shares many heroic war stories in The Greatest Generation. The classic character displayed in the book was a decorated war veteran who returned to the United States (US) and developed a prosperous lifestyle. The WWII veterans came to symbolize strength, honor, unity, justice, success, and noble sacrifice. This image was portrayed through literature and film. Books and movies created an image of the WWII veterans which the US would idolize. Popular culture gave the war a romantic appeal. People fell in love with the idea that the US was liberating Europe from the Nazi Hun and the evil Japanese Empire. After the war, men came back to marry their sweethearts and had several children who were called the Baby Boomers. This romanticism continued through television shows like Leave it to Beaver and literary titles similar to Dick and Jane, which dominated popular culture . Though popular culture defined the perfect life, the lifestyle was not typical for the average American. The Baby Boomers were called into the Vietnam War and expected to follow in their father’s heroic footsteps; but unlike their father’s generation they failed to live up to the expectations. The Baby Boomers rebelled against the state and popular culture, developing flower power, free love, and equality. The Vietnam War conflicted with many of the generation’s values, resulting in internal conflict with many of the nation’s youth. Some men joined the military to fight, while other dodged the draft, creating conflict within a generation. Overall, the Baby Boomer generation symbolized individuality, dishonor, injustice, failure, and wasteful sacrifice. Unlike the WWII era, the Vietnam War brought realism into literature and film. There were no heroic movies of men fighting in Vietnam. Men could no longer shoot fifty enemy combatants on top of a tank without being hurt. Instead, popular culture brought a realistic view of war, death, pain, and destruction. Author Tim O’Brien, like many war veterans, struggled with his Vietnam experience and expressed them through writing. Tim O’Brien exposed the truth behind war stories because he shows the difference between WWII romanticism and Vietnam realism. The difference between romanticism and realism can be seen through two variations of the same war story.

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