This paper examines how the main female characters in three F. Scott Fitzgerald novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, and Tender is the Night, and three Ernest Hemingway novels, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and The Old Man and the Sea, function as muses of disillusionment for the protagonists of those works. First, I analyze the extent to which each of the protagonist's female complements can be defined as a muse in accordance with qualities ascribed to the ancient Greek mythological muses. Subsequently, I assess how each muse functions in her respective novel first to inspire delusion and later to reveal reality for the man, who in each case becomes her absolute devotee since she reflects an ominous seed of hope within him. In looking at these women in this context, I hope to illuminate one of Fitzgerald and Hemingway's potential purposes in characterizing them: to reveal the utter devastation and isolation of the post-WW I generation as they were forced to accept the inevitable chaotic cruelty of the world.

Date of publication

Spring 6-1-2015

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