The Characterization of Lady Brett
In the novel by Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, the character named Lady Brett Ashley is assimilated in the words of another character, Mike, with the Greek Goddess Circe. This Goddess is known in Homer's Odyssey for luring men with her irresistible charms and transforming them into animals. If this myth was to partake in reality, it would be without doubt represented in this novel. The majority of men in the story are tormented and subject to Brett's physical and sexual assets. The first characterization we get from her is one of a selfish, alcoholic, manipulative, sexual and evil woman who emasculates her male partners. However, this superficial characterization would ignore the principle of the iceberg which resonates in many of Hemingway's characters, only one eighth of the meaning lies in the text. It is therefore correct to affirm that Lady Brett Ashley contains a deeper side in her personality that at first read we might not realize. Although, the question remains, can we affirm Brett as a passionate and positive character. In this essay we will discuss the characterization of Lady Brett Ashley, her pivotal role and her evolution at the end of the story.
The first representation of Lady Brett that we encounter in this novel is one of an emasculating woman, this perception will retain itself throughout the novel. The power this woman has over all these men is a similitude that likens her to Circe: “ 'He calls her Circe.' Mike said. 'He claims she turns men into swine' ” (148). At many instances in the book, we are brought the evidence that the balance of powers in this novel does not shift towards the group of men but the only woman in the circle of Muco 2
friends. In chapter two, when we first meet Brett, she is surrounded by homosexuals. This, in the time when this story takes place, could have been understood as the emasculation of these men by Lady Brett, in the same image as the wolves and that...
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