It is easy to judge a person before knowing the circumstances of their life and fully understanding their situation. In The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway presents a character that could easily be considered immoral and evil. However, by presenting her true background and through an understanding of the time, it becomes easier to sympathize with Brett and justify some of her actions.
It is difficult to forgive Brett for the way that she treats Jake and their relationship. Especially with Jake as the narrator the reader feels a special connection to his character. This makes Brett’s actions difficult to understand, but in the context of what has happened to her and around her, her need for physical satisfaction seem to make sense. As the story unfolds and Brett’s role in the war as a nurse become clear. It is evident that now she is feeling the effects of seeing so many men lose their lives and with their lives their dreams and visions of the future. The more the story indicates the pain that Brett has had in her past, the more her search for instant pleasure make sense. This background on Brett and her role in the war help to explain her relationship with Jake and inability to act on the love she claims to feel. This traumatic background also helps to explain her heavy drinking. Although most of the characters participate in binging, there is no character as evidently alcoholic as Brett. As an obviously intelligent woman, this trend is extremely disappointing and wastes the potential she has to do something with her life. However, an understanding of the hardships she has suffered help to explain the cause of her drinking. When it becomes clear that she drinks so that she does not have to remember what she has been through, it becomes easy to forgive her character of these small shortcomings.
Coinciding with Brett’s inability to remain with Jake is her constant changing of companionship. She sleeps with every man of her choosing and the man that she is...
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