The Sun Also Rises Passage Analysis Essay

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Bulls and bull-fighting are the two most critical symbols in The Sun Also Rises. The bulls symbolize passion, physicality, energy, and freedom. As a combination of these factors, in their interacti...

Genre

Today, Hemingway's style is one of the most copied around: it's gruff, it's stoic, and the sentences are shorter than the average length of one of Hemmy's beard hairs.But way back when, his radical...

What’s Up With the Title?

Like so many great novel titles, this one comes directly from the Bible. More specifically, it can be found in the passage from Ecclesiastes quoted in the second epigraph (for more deets, check out...

What’s Up With the Ending?

Best. Ending. Ever. In the last words of this novel, Hemingway delivers a memorable and hard-hitting diagnosis of his generation: "Isn’t it pretty to think so?" The speaker, Jake, is referring sp...

Allusions

W.H. Hudson, The Purple Land (2.3)Horatio Alger (2.3) H.L. Mencken (6.2, 12.39) A.E.W. Mason (12.31) Circe, character in Greek mythology (13.52) Ivan Turgenieff, a.k.a. Turgenev, Sportsman’s Sket...

Though seldom mentioned, World War I hangs like a shadow over the characters in The Sun Also Rises. The war devastated Europe, wiping away empires and long-standing governments. Similarly, its brutal trench warfare and machine-driven killing made clear to all of its participants that the long-standing ideals of honor, courage, and stoicism were hollow and meaningless, as were the national identities that drove the countries of Europe to war in the first place. In short, the war changed all those who experienced it, and those who came of age during the war became known as "the lost generation." Through Jakeand his friends and acquaintances, The Sun Also Rises depicts members of this lost generation.

Jake and his friends believe in very little. While in some ways this is liberating, it is also depicted as a loss. In losing their belief in the ideals, structures, and nationalism that drove self-identity in the time before the WWI, they seem to have lost some core of themselves. The characters are always restless, always wandering, looking for a constant change of scenery, as if looking for an escape. They would prefer to live in America than Europe, but for some reason they don't leave. The characters have made themselves expatriates, disconnected from their home, sampling the cultures of Europe without ever joining them. There is a sense that Jake and his generation don't belong anywhere. Though many of Jake's friends have occupations, in writing and editing, these jobs don't seem to have regular hours and none of them are accountable to any boss or location. The characters spend their time socializing, drinking, dancing, and playing games. Though these activities are usually seen as youthful pursuits, in such endless repetition they become empty and wearying, and part of a vicious cycle in which the characters are always thinking of the next escape. Of all the characters, only Cohn seems to not fit this description of a lost generation. He has an identity forced on him: he's Jewish. And he has ideals—romantic, perhaps silly ideals—but still ideals. It's not a coincidence that he is the only male character in the novel not to have experienced the war first hand. Yet in the course of the novel even Cohn betrays his ideals, suggesting that while the loss of belief in the old systems is a terrible personal loss, it also just may be a more accurate view of the world.

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