Introduction to Literature
The novel “The Sun Also Rises” portrays the life of men and women whose early childhood was consumed by World War I. Ernest Hemingway, the author of this novel and one of the greatest novelists of our time, paints a vivid image in the readers mind with his descriptive language to make understanding his points and messages through his writing entirely comprehensible. The protagonist’s of this story and their group of friends fit the stereotype of what they called the “lost generation” of that time period perfectly. Jake and Brett are the two main protagonists of the story who happened to be in love. Jake Barnes is a veteran of World War I who unfortunately had a life changing injury that not only affected his masculinity and ability to satisfy women, but also made him extremely mentally unstable. Lady Brett Ashley is a beautiful British young woman who does love Jake, but her dependency on physical satisfaction in relationships prevents her from committing to Jake. Although it is clear that they are not meant to be together, there undeniable love for each other makes them keep trying. This constant struggle eventually leads to the downfall of their relationships with their friends. Although Jake and Brett love each other, they each have individual flaws that make their relationship a failure, thus causing the downfall to the relationship with their group of friends.
Both Jake and Brett have individual reasons why they cannot make their relationship work. Their individual flaws are the reason they have the inability to secure their relationship. Jake’s flaw is more concrete and understanding. Jake’s injury was a severe one to say the least. This traumatic event will forever change his way of life. It will affect him in both physical and mental aspects of his life that he will never be able to recover from. The impossibility to be able to satisfy women diminishes his confidence and masculinity forever. Jake’s injury had a particular affect on his masculinity. Not only can he not be able to satisfy women, but he also has to deal with his other friends knowing that he cannot. In fact his inner anger derives from his closest friends knowing his flaw. Jake is extremely jealous because he knows that he will never have the same opportunity his friends will have with women. In fact Jake lets this jealousy get in between him and his friends, eventually getting into a physical altercation with one of them. He lets his jealousy expand into not only masculinity, but wealth and success. Jake is particularly jealous of Robert, one of the friends in his group who happened to graduate from Princeton, be a middleweight boxing champion while at Princeton, and is now doing very successful in life. He says about Robert “Do not think I am very much impressed by that boxing title” (Hemingway, 11). This arrogance towards Robert is derived from Jake’s jealousy towards him. Jake’s injury put him into a defenseless fight with society from both a physical and mental standpoint. His inability to physically satisfy Brett, along with the mental state of pure anger and jealousy he is in makes it impossible for he and Brett to fix their relationship, thus proving that Jake has individual flaws that contribute to the inability to fix their relationship.
Brett’s contributions to her and Jake’s relationship problems are more psychological than physical. Although Brett’s reasons are understandable, it is difficult to judge her love for Jake truly if she is not willing to commit to Jake despite his unique situation. Brett is a very passionate and warming young woman. She’s romantic and wants someone to love her. She is dependent on physical satisfaction from her man in relationships. Unfortunately, Jake cannot provide that for Brett because of his injury. Brett really does love Jake however, everything about him to her is right, and she cannot be