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Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises'" and World War I
Initially printed in 1926, The Sun Also Rises turned out to Ernest Hemingway's first huge success. Not more than ten years after the end of World War I, the novel found a way to define what his generation was like: young people that were disillusioned whose lives were deeply touched by the war. Not even Hemingway himself was any kind of a soldier, but he saw more than enough action by means of his adventures as an ambulance driver while in Italy, where he was injured and was in fact presented a medal from the Italian government for his courage. Hemingway stood the emotional and physical scars of the war for the rest of his life, just like the concerned characters he produced in The Sun Also Rises, and the novel has been able to express the doubt and pointlessness of what is considered to be the "Lost Generation." With that said, this essay will explore "The Sun Also Rises'" and explain how World War I is tied into this novel.
When it comes to the connection of World War I, the Sun Also Rises gives a remarkable document of the individuals who came to be acknowledged, in Gertrude Stein's words as the "Lost Generation." However, the young generation she speaks of had their dreams and innocence shattered by World War I, arose from the war bitter and wandering, and spent much of the wealthy 1920s partying and drinking away their frustrations. Jake exemplifies the Lost Generation; emotionally and physically wounded from the war, he is disenchanted, cares little about conventional sources of hope -- religion, friends, family, and work -- and indifferently drinks his way through his emigrant life. Even travel, a rich source of possible experience, typically turn out to be an excuse to drink in exotic settings. Because of World War I, recklessness also marked the Lost Generation; Jake hardly ever interferes in other's businesses, even when he could help (especially with Cohn), and Brett hastily hurts men and reflects herself as being some that is powerless to stop doing so (Leed). Even though Hemingway critiques the superficial, empty arrogances of the Lost Generation, he also articulates the hope that future generations may remember themselves after enduring World War I.
The novel displays that World War I brought in a sense of unhappiness. It is critical to take notice of the fact that Hemingway did not at any time explicitly make the point that Jake and his friends' lives are adrift, or that this aimlessness is an outcome World War I. As an alternative, he makes the suggestion that these ideas through his depiction of the characters' mental and emotional lives. These remain in stark difference to the characters' upfront actions. World War I, caused a lot of them to just not be happy and for instance, Jake and his friends' continuous riotous behavior does not make them content. Very often, their celebration is joyless and driven by a lot of alcohol. At the end of the day, it permits them not to think about their inner lives or about World War I. Even though they spend approximately all of their time going to parties in one way or another, and yet they still remain sorrowful or frustrated. Therefore, their dancing and drinking is just a fruitless distraction, a pointless activity characteristic of a drifting, aimless life.
World War I brought on what is considered to be the emasculation and ineffectiveness. It interesting to note that one of the key changes Hemingway was able to show in the Lost Generation is that of the new male mind, battered by World War I and recently trained. Jake expresses this new emasculation; most probable physically ineffective, he is not able to have any kind of sex and, for that reason, can never have the voracious Brett. As an alternative, he is controlled by her "Sexuality and bull-fighting,"), much in the same way Cohn is in the story, who is also mistreated by the other women in his life (Allen). Jake is even threatened by the homosexual men who dance with Brett in Paris; while not sexually interested in her, they have more "manhood" than Jake, physically speaking.
Yet a veteran, Jake now employed in an office and fritters away his time with superficial socializing; he admires bull-fighters so much, and Romero in certain, for the reason that they are far more valiant than he is or ever would be. Even though Romero's appearance appears to be much more feminine than Jake's, he manages to fulfill the enigma of being the Hemingway hero, authoritatively challenging death with what Hemingway has called "under pressure with grace." Jake, instead, has returned from his hostility with death feeling like less of a man, emotionally and physically. It is clear that World War I had this influence uselessness of when they all came back, just as what was just shown.
World War I is tied into the novel because it brought in male insecurity. It was quite evident that World War I pushed a drastic reevaluation of what it signified to be masculine. Before World War I, there was this ideal of the brave, enduring soldier that had little significance in the setting of brutal trench warfare that described the war. During that time, soldiers were forced to sit gather together as the enemy attacked them. Actually, survival depended far more upon luck than upon courage. Traditional ideas of what it meant to be a man were therefore damaged by the realisms of the war. It appears that Jake is the one that embodies these cultural changes. It is clear from the novel that World War I rendered his manhood (that is, his penis) inadequate as a consequence of injury (Moore). Jake starts to carries the burden of feeling that he is "less of a man" than he was before. He cannot escape a nagging sense of inadequacy, which is only compounded by Brett's refusal to enter into a relationship with him.
While Jake's condition is the most explicit example of weakened masculinity in the novel, it is certainly not the only one. All of the veterans feel insecure in their manhood. Again, Hemingway does not state this fact openly, but reasonably displays it in the way Jake and his veteran friends are able to respond to Cohn. They start targeting Cohn especially for abuse when they see him appealing in "weak" behavior for instance following Brett all over the place. They are able to cope with their fears of being unmasculine and weak by disapproving the flaw they see in him. It is apparent that Hemingway further exhibits this theme in his depiction of Brett. In a lot of ways, it appears that she is much more "manly" than the rest of the men in the novel. In the book she refers to herself as a "gentleman," Brett has a masculine name and a short masculine haircut, and she is independent and strong. Therefore, she exemplifies traditionally masculine features, even though Mike, Jake, and Bill are to changing degrees unclear of their masculinity.
World War I brought on a disconnect with relationships. In other words, people were not able to communicate very well. Because of this disconnect, friendly relations were hard to create because of the stress of the war. In fact, false friendships relate carefully to failed communication. A lot of the friendships that went on in the novel had no foundation in affection and it was almost as if World War I had drained it out of them (Allen). For example, Jake come across a bicycle team manager, and the two go have some drinks together.
For a moment, they appear to enjoy a welcoming conversation and make plans to meet sometime the next morning. Jake, on the other hand, sleeps all through their meeting, not having any kind regard for the idea that he will never see the man once more. Cohn and Jake show another, still a much darker type of deceitful friendship. Even though Cohn sincerely likes Jake, Jake must frequently mask absolute antagonism in the direction of Cohn, an antagonism that raises dramatically together with Jake's unspoken mistrustfulness of Cohn over his concern with Brett.
During a certain time, he even makes the awareness to have great hate Cohn. However, this failure to form honest connections with other individuals is an aspect of the aimless drifting that characterizes Jake's presence. In the novel, it appears that Jake and his friends wander around socially in addition to geographically. Oddly, Hemingway advocates that in the context of war it was easier to form connections with other individuals. When there was time of peace, it makes the point that it is far more difficult for these characters to do so.
Also, World War I seem to bring in less communication among people. For instance, the conversations among Jake and his friends are rarely honest or direct. They appear to do…[continue]
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