i just felt like writing.

I read The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway for a research paper. Hemingway was in World War I, an excessive drinker, and, well, a womanizer. How scandalous.
After the war, he couldn’t help noticing his generation’s loss of direction. This time is now known as the “lost generation”, and it was the primary focus of the book. At first, I didn’t understand the book’s significance. All I saw was a group of people that partied, got drunk, went to bull fights, and fought over girls. The narrator made brief references to the war, but more often than not it was ignored.
Eventually, I realized the book wasn’t some simple story about war, parties, and the joys of being inebriated. It was about pretending. All these people were branded and scarred by the war. It was this atrocity that tore apart their ideas of humanity’s capabilities. It shredded their hope and made them question their security. It shattered their perfectly crystallized identities. After something so traumatizing happens, you don’t just forget about it. It gets threaded into your DNA, it’s hardwired into your brain until neutral images spark painful emotions. Everything is rimmed with a stain of black, bleeding, melting, eroding at the edges. Yet onward they go, focusing on the trivial and the mundane, drowning their ghosts in a glass. Empty, broken, ringing laughter that everyone accepts as full and healthy.
A book that was published in the 1920’s can be as pertinent as a book written today. Maybe even more so, if you’re including books about love triangles between an annoying girl, a sparkly vampire, and a freaky werewolf. Spoiler alert: Freaky Werewolf falls in love with Annoying Girl’s newborn. Can you say pedophile in the works?
Anyway. We live in such a distracted society. How often are we ever fully engaged in anything? Conversations are interrupted by catchy ring tones and text message alerts. The majority opts to sleep in class instead of stretch their attention span to above the length of a Call of Duty session. It’s a symptom of a greater disease that none of us can escape, but that we can decide how to handle. The theme of The Sun Also Rises is both universal and timeless. No one escapes the grips of pain; everyone faces the temptation to evade pain’s influence. It’s a fact that will never change. People use drugs and alcohol and all these things as alternatives to their inner demons. It’s this outward manifestation of an internal issue.
But it’s not just through substances that people disregard reality. There’s a war going on. People are starving while our pantries are stuffed. Innocent people are wasting away in jail because others are too self-absorbed to make it right. People are killing their fellow man due to issues of race and prejudice and hate. However, it’s more convenient and more comfortable to focus on celebrity gossip or a royal wedding. Theyprovoke more interest, attention, and conversation than painful topics such as the war or the plummeting economy. Although the war and the economy are more pertinent to common people’s daily lives, comfort outweighs relevance. It is easy to discount certain people in the public as apathetic, but really, their avoidance could signify pain.

New favorite song: Carbon Ribs – John Mark McMillan

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