The Sun Also Rises

In Ernest Hemingways The Sun Also Rises, Jake Barnes is a lost man who wastes his life on drinking. Towards the beginning of the book Robert Cohn asks Jake, Dont you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and youre not taking advantage of it? Do you realize that youve lived nearly half the time you have to live already? Jake weakly answers, Yes, every once in a while. The book focuses on the dissolution of the post-war generation and how they cannot find their place in life. Jake is an example of a person who had the freedom to choose his place but chose poorly.

This point of Jakes life is centered on readjusting himself to normal life after World War I. Jake is lost and doesnt know what to do. He has a few friends with whom he goes and drinks and eats with, but it seems at times that he doesnt enjoy this nor does he really like his friends. Jake also at times seems to realize how bad his life is, but then never regrets it. He is in love with Brett Ashley, but she is always with other people, including Robert Cohn, which makes Jake jealous. This jealousy turns to anger when Jake gets into a fight with Robert and is then knocked out.

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Jake relates to the other characters only superficially because he only looks at what he can get from them. Jake wants Brett Ashley so that when he gets older hell have companionship. Jake makes fun of Robert Cohn to make himself look better than he is by putting someone else down. Jake also uses Bill Gorton just to keep himself busy and not get bored. Near the end of the book Jake states, Next morning I tipped every one a little too much at the hotel to make more friends…I did not tip the porter more than I should because I did not think I would ever see him again. I only wanted a few good French friends in Bayonne to make me welcome in case I should come back… This statement show what friends really meant to Jake. They were people that would be some type of service to him.

Unfortunately, Jake does not undergo a change throughout the book. Jake stays the same uncaring, selfish person from the beginning where Jake said he never thinks about how much hes wasted his life to Robert Cohn, until the last line where Brett Ashley says, We could have had such a damned good time together, and Jake responds by nonchalantly saying, Yes, isnt it pretty to think so?
And since he is still as lost in the world as he was at the beginning of the book as he is at the end, this only furthers the proof of how disillusioned the lost generation was. If the book was, in fact, somewhat autobiographical to Hemingways life, its surprising that Hemingway waited until his sixties to kill himself.

The Sun Also Rises

I finished reading SAR around ten o’clock tonight. I could have taken it all in one big gulp when I began a week ago, but I couldn’t do that. It wanted me to bring it out slowly, so I often found myself reading five or ten pages and laying it aside to absorb without engulfing. A man gets used to reading Star Wars and pulp fiction and New York Times Bestsellers and forgets what literature is until it slaps him in the face. This book was written, not churned out or word-processed. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed reading.I never noticed it until it was brought up in class, maybe because it wasn’t a point for me in In Our Time, but He doesn’t often enough credit quotations with, “,he said,” or, “,said Brett,” or, “,Bill replied.” In SAR it stood and called attention to itself. I wasn’t particularly bothered by His not telling me who said what, but it was very…pointed. I first noticed around the hundredth page or so. Then I realized I couldn’t keep track of who was speaking. By not dwelling on it, though, sort of (hate to say this) accepting it, I managed to assign speech to whomever I felt was speaking. Gradually I came to enjoy it, in another plane of reading, figuring out from whom words were originating. To not notice it, as if it were one of those annoying 3-D posters that you can’t see until you make a concerted effort not to try and see, became simple – much like those 3-D pictures are once you know what not to look for. (I abhor ending sentences with prepositions…)His not telling was heightening to the story. It made things come even more alive. As a conversation that you’re hearing at a nearby table in a restaurant, the exchanges flowed, with me as a more passive reader than in a story written to be read instead of lived. It has always been troubling for me to read a book with the knowledge that there are things I am supposed to be catching, but not quite. The fish in the pools and the allegory and analogy and symbolism aren’t fond of me. Trying to see that the bull-fighters and their purity or lack and how it relates to Him as a writer surrounded by a universe of new fiction printed for the masses, that is all fine and well. The short sentences, the lack of qualifying, “he said”s and “she saids” and such, the tragedy of his love for Brett, those are the things I enjoy reading. Those are the reasons I read and the reasons a man like Him writes. There are stranger things, Horatio…or something like that. I believe Paul Simon read Hemingway at some point in his life.


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