Escapism in the Sun Also Rises

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The characters whose story Hemingway tells in The Sun Also Rises are referred to as “the lost generation.” These characters, all greatly affected by the tragedies of war, were disillusioned with their own country and attempted to find solace in Paris. In the hustle bustle and excitement of the city, they still seem to long for some sort of escape and this is where Hemingway brings in pastoral language and other forms of escapism. The novel begins with a long epigraph from Ecclesiastes (read). This epigraph is intended to show the reader that nature is a constant, while people are not. This basically means that our lives and hardships are seemingly insignificant and that no matter how bad an experience a person has one day, another day will always come. The sun will always rise and set, the wind will always blow, and the rivers will always flow into the ocean. This idea is essential in order to understand the importance of pastoral language. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word pastoral as poetry, music, pictures, etc: portraying rural life or characters, esp. in an idealized or romantic manner. (Read definition&next) While Paris was meant to be an escape from the wartime and the reminders of their lives in America before the war, it is still difficult for them to cope because the city is still very similar to their old lives and is full of corruption. (read) Hemingway creates pastoral interludes in which the men escape from the social, sexual, and monetary competition of the city to a more idyllic setting. For example, Bill and Jake go on a trip to the countryside and are able to enjoy the freedom from the busy schedules of city life as well as a new openness with one another when Bill expresses his deep feelings of friendship for Jake that would’ve been considered inappropriate to express by social standards. Jake desperately wants to escape from his problems, however he carries a constant reminder of what he went through because of his injury....
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