WW1 Affecting Modernist Magazine Content

            In The Crisis Vol. 19 No. 3 there is an article on page 120 titled “The Optimist” by Ethyl Lewis that reflects on the motivations of African Americans at the time and during the war. It mentions how the war is tough and gruesome, but they must hold out because they are fighting for a future where African Americans are respected and have equal rights. While the piece tries to be optimistic about their goals, there are some depressing reality checks such as when it mentions “the country you love despised you so” (Lewis 120). This reminds the audience that there is still oppression against African Americans at this time and how they need to still fight. The article also appeals to the audience through religious diction or religious allusions.

            People also tried to escape the war’s effects such as in Others Vol. 5 No. 4 in an entry titled “Vegetable Store” by Helen Hoyt on page 16 where Helen clearly depicts vegetables. This appreciation of food may originate from the lack of food during the war due to rationing and in describing the food, Helen also occasionally uses comparisons that have war-related diction. This includes a comparison to “spears and lances,” and “prickly foreignness,” where the weapons are obvious, but the foreignness could relate to the battle being overseas (Hoyt 16). While trying to stay away from the topic of war, the diction in these comparisons could also be used when describing parts of WW1. The idea of describing a vegetable store itself is an escape from the depressing war topic as it is civilian focused. WW1 had a major impact on everything in the world and literature was no exception even if it tried to stay away from the topic.

                                                                   Works Cited

Hoyt, Helen. “Vegetable Store.” Others, vol. 5, no. 4, 1 March 1919, pp. 16

Lewis, Ethyl. “The Optimist.” The Crisis, vol. 19 no. 3, 1 January 1920, pp. 120