The aftermath of World War I not only left nations in economic and pitiful turmoil; it also caused severe emotional and psychological effects to the people associated with the war. The most critical and fundamental impact was probably on the part of the population that was coming of age. These were the ones that lost any notion of conventional morality. They lost the sense of a purpose in life. Turned into aimless drifters, there life was filled with a kind vacuum of no ethics. Ernest Hemingway popularized the term “Lost Generation” for this collection of people in his novel “The Sun Also Rises”. The characterization of Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley are exemplification of this “Lost Generation”.
Jake Barnes, the narrator of the novel is introduced as an American veteran of World War I living in Paris. Here he works as a journalist and his life revolves around partying with his friends and drinking heavily. Drinking to an extent, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to call them alcoholics. However, Jake in comparison to his friends was somewhat the stable one.
Jake endured an injury during the war which left him impotent. This implication instilled a profound sense of masculine insecurity in him. Much of his attitude and behavioral traits are resultant of this wound. This was a vast change from the attitude displayed during the war. The war took away all notions of courage and chivalry that were obtained beforehand. The war took away the traditional definition of being a ‘man’. Lady Brett Ashley is also a lead character in the novel and is characterized as a woman of strength and distinct individuality. She possesses great beauty and easily charms any man she meets. Jake is revealed to be in love with her and her with him but she refuses to commit to him because of his impotence and her resolution to not be able to give up sex. In fact her love of independence makes her relentless to any form of commitment. Brett is also shown to be heavy drinker who...
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