English 11, E Period
August 18th, 2012
The Sun Rises and so does Chaos
The protagonist in Ernest Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Jacob Barnes, is a down on his luck war veteran living in France. Jake is characterized by his experiences prior to the events of the book and he narrates the story from a quiet observer’s third person perspective, often times quite cynically, exemplified when he tells his friend Robert Cohn, “You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”Although never openly stating it, Jake on several occasions implies that due to a war injury he has lost the ability to have sex which leaves him feeling very insecure about his own masculinity, likely contributing to his pessimism. Also contributing to his bad attitude is that Lady Brett Ashley, the woman whom he focuses his affections on, refuses to commit to him because it would mean sacrificing sex. The events of the book follow Jake around as he drinks and parties all of his worries and misery away in many bars all over Europe; meeting many different people, each new character with their own unique personality contrasting and accentuating Jake and his closest friends. At the beginning of the book, Jake and his friends are living in France in the 1920’s, most of them not originally from France and several of the World War I Veterans. Jake’s assorted escapades detail and depict the 1920’s nightlife for him and his friends, and the many people they meet along the way, which is little more than purposeless self indulgence. The prevailing problem for Jake is more of a psychological battle than anything else. Although ailed by physical disabilities from war, and perhaps worried about his own financial security, Jake’s personal demons lie more in his brain, plaguing him with self doubt and depression. Self conscious of his erectile dysfunction, depressed that Brett won’t fully return his affections, and prone to verbal lashings, Jake lives a...