Essay on How is hopelessness portrayed in Fiesta

Submitted By Zoe-Fernandes
Words: 1015
Pages: 5

How is hopelessness portrayed in Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises.
In Ernest Hemingway’s novel; The Sun Also rises, we see how the characters and the context it is set in portray hopelessness. The characters are part of a lost generation and live in a post-war world that further enhances the feeling of hopelessness.
Through Hemingway’s narrator; Jake Barnes, we see how meaningless life is for war veterans after the First World War. Jake represents the aimlessness and everlasting disillusionment of the post-war world; he was rendered emasculated after being shot in the war and this is continually linked to his actions throughout the novel. For example when he meets Georgette, a prostitute in chapter 3, he is unable to give in to her advances as he “put her hand away” and agrees when she asks him if he is “sick”. This shows us that being emasculated it the root of his pain, it physically affects him from enjoying his life therefore representing hopelessness as he feels discouraged from entering a relationship or even a small fling due to his injury. Alternatively he could be making an excuse because he is in love with Brett and doesn’t want to develop any relationships as he clings to the hope that one day he and Brett could be together constantly offering his “help” for Brett to get together with other men.
While Jake’s condition is the most obvious example of weakened masculinity in the novel, it is not the only one. All of the veterans feel insecure in their manhood. Hemingway does not state this fact directly, but instead shows it in the way Jake and his veteran friends react to Robert Cohn. They target Cohn, “I have never seen a man in civil life as nervous as Robert Cohn – nor as eager. I was enjoying it.” and abuse him when they see him engaging in “unmanly” behaviour such as following Brett around. They cope with their fears of being weak and unmasculine by criticizing the weakness they see in him. This exhibits a sense of hopelessness as they resort to abusing their so called friend to hide their sorrow.
Jake, Brett, and their acquaintances use unimportant and distracting activities, such as drinking, dancing, and sex to fill their time because they no longer believe in anything, their lives are empty. In chapter 7 we see how the characters used alcohol as a getaway or an escape from reality. The Count tells Brett that the wine “is too good for toast drinking” and that she shouldn’t “mix emotions up with a wine like that” as you “lose the taste”. This represents how the characters are unable to face their emotions presumably the fear and sense of being weak from the war. Hemmingway again does not explicitly state this but we can infer from the context of the 1920’s and the mention of “that dirty war” that this is the cause of the characters wanting to getting away from reality. In this situation the count suggests to Brett to face her emotions, Brett also served in the war and so she too is looking for an escape. Due to this, Brett is unable to face her emotions like many other characters in the novel thus representing the lost generation. Alternatively it could represent how meaningless life is for the lost generation as their “emotions” make it bland and pointless with alcohol being a metaphor for their life. This demonstrates a lack of hope as they have nothing to live for and so turn to alcohol for solace.
The characters are always restless, always wandering, looking for a constant change of scenery, as if looking for an escape. They would prefer to live in America than Europe, but for some reason they don't leave. The characters are disconnected from their home, sampling the cultures of Europe without ever joining them. There is a sense that Jake and his generation don't belong anywhere. Jake points out that “you can’t