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As the first generation of digital natives, millennials are challenging and changing the ethical and decorous landscape of today’s perpetually connected global society. This paper will discuss how significant historical events, such as the 2008 financial crisis, catapulted coming-of-age millennials into a societal gray area that forced a change in their status quo and how the results of that change are exemplified through millennial-created literature. The “distinctive historical experience of the millennial generation” that led to this break in decorum will be established via Ruth Milkman’s A New Political Generation: Millennials and the Post-2008 Wave of Protest. A look at Gary Gregg’s Social Values and Moral Intuitions: The World-Views of “Millennial” Young Adultswill then be used to show how this new world view, along with rapidly advancing technology, has given rise to a gray-line generation that exists simultaneously within and outside of their predecessor’s prescribed standards of right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable. Finally, Jennifer Haley’s play The Netherwill be presented as an example of how millennial values and ideas are being communicated through literary media. Haley’s play accomplishes this by placing the audience firmly in a moral gray area, thus bringing into question the legitimacy of the binary moral values held by previous generations. This necessitated generational adaptation of societal standards has paved the way for the millennial rallying cry #SorryNotSorry.

Key Words: Millennial Literature, Gray-Line Generation, Millennial, Millennials, #SorryNotSorry, Morals, Ethical Values, Millennial Theatre, Millennial Life, The Nether


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  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Oconee

  • Event location
    • MPR 3

  • Event date
    • 22 March 2019

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Derek Thiess