Jake Barnes & Ernest Hemingway – A Comparison
“'Hey, Kitty,' said Ernest, 'I'm taking your advice. I'm writing a novel full of plot and drama.' He gestured ahead towards Harold and Bill. 'I'm tearing those bastards apart,' he said. 'I'm putting everyone in it and that kike Loeb is the villain.“
Table of contents:
1. Setting, Characters & Background
2. Impotence & War Wound
4. San Fermín
5. Interests & Characteristics
The Sun Also Rises was Hemingway's first novel, published in 1926, written several years after he served in World War I. It deals with the postwar life of expatriates and veterans living in Paris (Europe), who are also called the Lost Generation. They all go to Spain together, to enjoy the bullfights.
The book, like most of his early fiction, is based on Hemingway's experiences and acquaintances, therefore many parallels can be found by comparing the novel with Hemingway's life during the twenties. In this essay I want show similarities and differences between the narrator Jake Barnes and Hemingway himself.
1. Setting, Characters & Background
In the beginning, the story of The Sun Also Rises is set in Paris in the twenties: expatriates and veterans living an aimless and unfulfilling life with a lot of drinking and parties and travelling.
There is for example Jake Barnes, the narrator and protagonist of the story. He is an American expatriate and veteran of World War I, where he also got wounded, and works as a journalist in Paris.
Robert Cohn is a Jewish American writer and tennis partner of Jake. He used to box at Princeton. He did not serve in the war and therefore stands out of the rest of Jake's friends. In the beginning of the novel he has a girlfriend called Frances Clyne, who is manipulative and tries to find status through their relationship. The three of them sometimes meet up for dinner or go out together, but Cohn abandons her later on.
Bill Gorton is an American writer and veteran. He is a close friend of Jakes and visits him in Paris.
The main female character in this novel is the British Lady Brett Ashley. Although engaged to Mike Campbell, a Scottish war veteran and drunkard, she enjoys an independent life and has affairs with other men throughout the course of the novel. Jake and Bre tt are desperately in love with each other, but she doesn't want to commit to a relationship with him because he can't have sex.
Now let's have a look at Hemingway's life during the 1920's. Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. In 1917, after finishing high school, he became an ambulance driver at the Italian front in World War I. After a few months of serving in the war he got seriously injured and returned home after recuperating in an hospital in Italy. A few years later he got to know Elizabeth Hadley Richardson and married her. They had a son together and moved to Paris in 1922, where he worked as a reporter. (see Meyer p.2-63)
During his years in Paris he got to know Harold Loeb, an American Jew living in Paris with his girlfriend Kathleen (Kitty) Eaton Cannell. Hemingway played tennis or "boxed for fun with Harold Loeb" (Baker p.191), who used to wrestle at college in Princeton. Loeb introduced him to his friend Lady Duff Twysden, a British expatriate. Hemingway fell in love with her and she was also attracted to him ("his sexual magnetism tested her self-control" [Meyers p.157] ), but she didn't want to get together with him because he was married. "'We can't do it,' she told him. 'You can't hurt people.' She would not run off with him, even if she wanted to, because of Hadley and the baby." (Baker p.157) Bill Smith was Hemingway's oldest friend. He also served in the war and visited Hemingway in Paris.
If you compare this very short summary of the (beginning) setting and the main characters of The Sun Also Rises with Hemingway's life during that time, you...