Gonzalez 1 Prompt: Many works of literature deal with political or social issues. Choose a novel or play that focuses on a political or social issue. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the author uses literary elements to explore this issue and explain how the issue contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot. Megan Gonzalez Mrs..
Labs AP English Set 3 10 January 2012 Social Commentary in The Sun Also Rises Thesis: In the post-war novel The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway presents the disillusionment and cynical world view of the Lost Generation” through the travels of American and British expatriates living in Europe after World War l. While money, alcohol, and sex act as the driving factors of his dissolute and hedonistic lifestyle, Jake Barnes struggles with the anguish resulting from the effect of his impotence on his relationship with and love of Lady Brett Ashley.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
The cynical and understated tone and repeated symbols of loss and death enhance Hemingway commentary on the effects of World War I on the young people involved. The novel addresses the dismissal of traditional values following the ar through the terse structure full of seemingly insignificant detail and open dialogue on the motifs of alcohol and money. By establishing Jake and Brett as symbols of the redefined gender roles and creating situational irony in sexual encounters, Hemingway develops his social commentary on the new approaches of sexuality that emerged after World War l. Gonzalez 2 l.
Through the cynical and understated tone and recurring symbols of loss and death, Hemingway develops his social commentary on the aftermath of World War I in the lives of those involved. A. Tone and symbols of loss 1 . Description of sequences of vents with insignificant details “At five o’clock I was in the Hotel Carillon waiting for Brett. She was not there, so I sat down and wrote some letters. They were not very good letters but I hoped their being on Carillon stationary would help them. Brett did not turn up, so about quarter to six I went down to the bar and had a Jack Rose with George the barman. (48) “We packed the lunch and two bottles of wine in the rucksack, and Bill put it on. I carried the rod-case and the landing-nets slung over my back. We started up the road and then went across a meadow and found a path that roused the fields and went toward the woods on the slope of the first hill. We walked across the field on the sandy path. The fields were rolling and grassy and the grass was short from the sheep grazing. The cattle were up in the hills. We heard their bells in the woods. ” (121) “We drove along the coast road.
There was the green of the headlands, the white, red-roofed villas, patches of forest, and the ocean very blue with the tide out and the water curling far out along the beach. ” (234) 2. Impotence as a symbol of the war’s destruction Gonzalez 3 ” “Sometimes, my dear. And I have got arrow wounds. Have you ever seen arrow wounds? ” “Let’s have a look at them. ” The count stood up, unbuttoned his vest, and opened his shirt. He pulled up the undershirt onto his chest and stood, his chest black, and big stomach muscles bulging under the light. “You see them? ” Below the line where his ribs stopped were two raised white welts. (67) 3. Destruction of relationships following World War I “I’ve suppose I’ve the usual medals. But I never sent in for them. One time the was this whopping big dinner and the Prince of Wales was to be there, and the cards said medals will be worn. So naturally I had no deals, and I stopped at my Tailor’s and he was impressed by the invitation, and I thought that’s a good piece of business, and I said to him: “You’ve got to fix me up with some medals. ” He said: “What medals, sir? ” And I said: “Oh, any meals. Just give me a few medals. ” So he said: “What medals have you sir? And I said: “How should I know? “” (140) “l turned off the light and tried to go to sleep. It was not necessary to read any more. I could shut my eyes without getting the wheeling sensation. But I could not sleep. ” (150) B. Tone and symbols of loss 1. Understated tone as a meaner to hide pain Gonzalez 4 “This understated style, and the narrator’s apparent toughness of attitude, can sometimes conceal pain, emotion, and desire. A typical example of this understated style is Sake’s attempt, late in the novel, to Justify Mike’s drunken and, at times, vicious behavior toward Robert Cohn.
Jake tells Brett that Conn’s presence in Pomona has been hard on Mike, suggesting but leaving unsaid what is equally obvious: that Conn’s, not to mention Mike’s and Padre’s, has also been very hard on him. According to James Angel, Sake’s love for Brett and the pain of their having to be apart ‘underscores everything he relates. ” (Libber 336) 2. Mechanical narration of sequences “Even Sake’s style of narration might be a result of this experience. In the novel, the characters follow a rote, mechanical sequence of events: they get up in the morning, go to cafes, eat, drink, go home, and then finally sleep.
This depiction might bear a striking resemblance to life in the trenches, where the soldiers rose, repaired, ate, dug, stood watch, then went to sleep. Such a rudimentary lifestyle, combined with the horrific events that seemed to continue nonstop, forced men to live entirely in the present moment, without regard for the before or the after. It is perhaps this attitude that explains the characters’ lack of concern for consequences and Sake’s lack of narrative introspection. ” (Templeton 444) Gonzalez 5 3. War medals and Beret’s husband as symbols of loss “The loss was not permanent; however, no one knew that in 1926.
Mike Campbell attitude toward his war medals is symptomatic of the survivors: the medals awarded for what was then called courage have no meaning for him. The bits of colored cloth no longer represent glory or honor to Mike, but he is not responsible for their devaluation. Mike is Just another war casualty still walking. ” (Reynolds 64) 4. Cohn representing what the war destroyed “It is important to remember, however, that Jake may not be providing an accurate picture of the man who spent a week in Spain with Brett. Jake even acknowledges this possibility, noting that he may not have “shown Robert Cohn clearly. He tries, briefly, to improve his incomplete portrait but continues to highlight moments and events that cast Cohn in a negative light. From the very beginning of the novel, Sake’s depiction of Cohn seems partial. Scabies Sullivan has described Cohn as a character who “lives in the wasteland but does not adhere to its values. Sake’s portrayal of Cohn appears to suggest that Conn’s values are out of date and out of place. ” (Libber 337) “He is the representation of all that was supposedly destroyed in the war. Therefore, he must be exiled from the group that is busily reshaping the world…
Conn’s love for Brett and his expression of that love is meant as a criticism of the romantic. He represents the American values of love, Gonzalez 6 idealism, and naive bliss that were soundly exploded in World War l. Therefore, Cohn is Hemingway satirical portrait of the last knight who would defend the old faith and ideals. This knight absurdly undergoes overt humiliation under the guise of a love for a lady and brings upon himself verbal wrath and abuse. Conn’s actions are the last gasp of those values yet his survival is a bitter reminder of their beauty… ” (“The Sun” 329) II.
The terse structure filled with details and the open dialogue regarding the motifs of money and alcohol emphasize Hemingway commentary on the decline of traditional values that resulted from World War l. A. Structure and dialogue about motifs 1. Details about price and exactness “We had lunch and paid the bill. Montana did not come near us. One of the maids brought the bills. ” (232) 2. Problems of alcoholism and constant drinking “”This is a hell of a dull talk,” Brett said. “How about some of the champagne? ” The count reached down and twirled the bottles in the shiny bucket. “It isn’t cold, yet. You’re always drinking, my dear.
Why don’t you Just talk? ” “I’ve talked too ruddy much. I’ve talked myself all out of to Jake. ” (65) “Brett pulled the felt hat down far over one eye and smiled out from under it. “You two run along to the fight. I’ll have to be taking Mr.. Gonzalez 7 Campbell home directly. ” “I’m not tight,” Mike said. Perhaps Just a little. I say, Brett, you are a lovely piece. ” (85) “l corked up the Fandango bottle and gave it to the bartender, “Lets have one more drink of that,” Brett said. “My nerves are rotten. ” We each drank a glass of the smooth amontillado brandy. ” (186) B. Structure and dialogue about motifs 1 .
Calculated tone with carefully selected details “Jake forgets the war by immersing himself in the meticulous details of life. He has a calculated view of the events in the story and is sure to relate minutiae, such as how much things cost, who owes whom, how to bait the hook, and what is in the packed inch. ” (“The Sun” 327) “The Sun Also Rises is noted for its misleadingly simple prose style and realistic dialogue. Aiming to represent experience directly, Hemingway writing favored nouns, perhaps because they came the closest to communicating the person/place/thing itself, free of interpretation or inflection.
Hemingway also avoided complex sentences, largely due to his training as a journalist and the influence of Gertrude Stein. His language and syntax are stripped down to their bare minimum, and his short, matter-of-fact sentence structure results in prose that withholds a sense of cause and effect… His voice is characterized by its ironic understatement and flat, unemotional descriptions. Refusing introspection, Jake narrates his thoughts as they occur too, but he does Gonzalez 8 not speculate on implications or consequences. Instead, he tells us only the facts, coldly and objectively, or so it seems. (Templeton 445) 2. Motif of alcohol and openness of drinking “Whatever their reasons for travel, the American tourists forced up the bar prices on both banks of Paris. The moral hypocrisy of Prohibition that so irritated Hemingway generation produced exactly the reaction that Hemingway documents in his novel. By 1926 the cocktail had, according to H. L. Mencken, become an American art form. Jake Barnes does not drink as excessively as either Brett Ashley or Mike Campbell, a confirmed alcoholic, but Sake’s drinking should be understood as a way of not thinking about his sexual and moral condition.
He certainly does not want to think too closely about his moral condition. But then neither did America in 1926, and Jake Barnes is a native son, an American born into a time and place not of his choosing. If Jake and his friends drink too much too often, do not place the blame on Hemingway; he did not create the moral climate hat turned drinking into an indoor sport, nor was he responsible for the sexual attitudes of the period. Edmund Wilson once called him the moral barometer of his times: Hemingway recorded the changes in the moral atmospheric pressure.
Home, family, church, and country gave this war-wounded generation no moral support. ” (Reynolds 62-63) Gonzalez 9 “Far from improving morality, the ban lent an air of intrigue and excitement. Critics could even argue that by clamoring the speakeasy, Prohibition actually made alcohol more tantalizing to people, especially the younger generation, to which Hemingway and his crowd belonged. (Templeton 440) 3. Money as a motivation to move to France and focus of life “Instead, the key to life is a development of one’s ability to wisely utilize the full worth of one’s money.
This can take many forms but only Jake, the Count, and to a certain extent Bill Gorton, are able to do this. Brett, and especially Mike Campbell (who is ever an “undercharged bankrupt”), will never be happy even if they become rich because they are incapable of utilizing money well… In other words, “the lost generation” can get their kicks by a wise expenditure of money (even if they are not rich) until a semblance of reality has en reconstructed and the war is in the past. ” (“The Sun” 330) “The French economy worsened when the franc was stabilized at 20% of its pre-war value.
This had the effect of making France a collector of gold and brought adventure-seeking Americans, with moderate sums of dollars, to ate advantage of exchange rates. ” (“The Sun” 333) 4. Loss of value of family, faith, and work “The old values??love, honor, duty, truth??were bankrupted by a war that systematically killed off a generation of European men and Gonzalez 10 permanently scarred Americans like Jake, who fought during the last months of the debacle. (Reynolds 63) “Nor do religious beliefs sustain or give guidance to any of these characters.
As we noted earlier, Jake is a nominal Catholic, but his Church has not been much help to him in coping with either his particular condition or with the world in which he lives. “Don’t think about it” is the best advice he’s been given, but that only works for him part of the time. He tries to pray but prays badly; he goes to confession but is not relieved. The barman / priest who presides over their Modernist Church of the Bottled Christ pours out two drinks. The parody and the ironic comment are complete.
These characters may have failed God, but God’s church has also failed them. Once important religious beliefs no longer sustain Jake or any of his friends. The religion of work is also defunct in Sake’s world. The strenuous moral and physical life advocated by Theodore Roosevelt no longer rang as clear or true as it had before the war. None of Sake’s friends works: Mike Campbell and Robert Cohn both receive money from their mothers; Beret’s money comes in alimony payments; Bill Gorton we do not know about.
Like Montana, the other clear-eyed analyzer of the human condition, George, the prostitute tells Jake: You have nice friends” (19). Her voice is heavy with irony, and nice, as we have noted, works as a pejorative in the novel. Hard work, that traditional American Gonzalez 11 virtue that sustained Franklin, Lincoln, Edison, and Teddy Roosevelt, is temporarily out of fashion on the Left Bank of Paris. Jake is the only one of the “rotten crowd” who has a Job, but even he tries to give the impression that he is not working at his Journalism very hard. ” (Reynolds 66-67) Ill.
Hemingway develops his social commentary on the new approaches to sexuality that emerged following World War I wrought the Brett and Sake’s symbolism of the redefined gender roles and the situational irony of intimacy. A. Symbolism of Brett and Jake and situational irony 1 . Beret’s multiple sexual encounters “l did not see Brett again until she came back from San Sebastian??n. One card came from her from there. It had a picture of the Conchs, and said: “Darling. Very quiet and healthy. Love to all the chaps. Brett. ” Nor did I see Robert Cohn again.
I heard Frances had left for England and I had a note from Cohn saying he was going out in the country for a couple of weeks… ” (75) “”Beret’s got a bull-fighter,” he said. She had a Jew named Cohn, but he turned out badly. ” Brett stood up. “l am not going to listen to that sort of rot from you, Michael. ” “How’s your boyfriend? ” “Damned well,” Brett said. “Watch him this afternoon. ” “Beret’s got a bull-fighter,” Mike said. “A beautiful, bloody bull-fighter. “”(210-211) 2. Sake’s lamentation which dissolves into acceptance Gonzalez 12 “”Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together. Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me. “Yes,” I said, “Isn’t it pretty o think so? “” (251) 3. Repetition of dinner and taxi ride with George and Brett “l watched a good-looking girl walk past the table and watched her go up the street and lost sight of her, and watched by once more and I caught her eye, and she came over and sat down at the table. The waiter came up… We turned off the Avenue up the Rue des Pyramided, through the traffic of the Rue De Ravioli, and through a dark gate into the Utilities.
She cuddled up against me and I put my arm around her. ” (22-23) “Down-stairs we came out through the first-floor dining-room to the street. A waiter went for a taxi. It was not and bright. Up the street was a little square with trees and grass where there were taxis parked. A taxi came up the street, the waiter hanging out at the side. I tipped him and told the driver where to drive, and got in beside Brett. The driver started up the street. I settled back. Brett moved close me. We sat close against each other. ” B. Symbolism of Brett and Jake and situational irony 1 .
Brett as a symbol of feminism and the new woman Gonzalez 13 “What we can gather from the novel, however, is that she must be the monitoring individual in any relationship, the imperial force, and she can only be that while men are under the sway of her sexuality. When they seek equality in the relationship, or dominance, when they want to call the shots, she ends the relationship, giving up her conquered territory and moving on. ” (Hays 241) “And it has become clear that Brett is the central figure in his psychic drama, the memory he cannot escape, the core of his lie even though they can never be married.
But there is yet another context in which Brett must be perceived, for the full complexity of her hearted requires that she be considered in contrast to the other women in the novel. As a New Woman, she is remarkable not only when measured against men but in comparison to the women around her. It is from this perspective that the secondary female characters in the novel become particularly interesting. These other woman function in a variety of ways, from the promotion of lost-generation values, to reminding Jake of what he has lost, to setting Brett Ashley in relief, juxtaposed against alternate models of feminine behavior. (Angel 99-100) “Lady Brett Ashley best encapsulates the beauty of being “lost. She represents the dead aristocracy and constantly fends off the long-dead notions of romance best captured in the melancholy of Robert Cohn. Yet she also represents the future and the new feminism of the sass; she is Gonzalez 14 an amoral socialite who lost her first love and husband to dysentery in the War, divorced her second because he was abusive but gave her a title, and is working on a third. ” (“The Sun” 327) 2.
Jake as a symbol of lost masculinity “All the flaws ascribed to this decadent character – alcoholism, laziness, unemployment, sexual possessiveness, and dependence on women – are also weaknesses therapeutically ascribed to wounded men whose injuries have supposedly destroyed all positive aspects of their former personalities. ” (Fore 85) “Jake advises Cohn to start living his life now, in Paris. However, as Sake’s narrative unfolds, it becomes evident that he has not yet learned to live according to his own advice.
Tormented by thoughts of his injury and by his love for Brett, Jake spends many sleepless hours inhabiting the elsewhere of an imaginary past – the past he and Brett could have had, the past that continues to be a source of pain and frustration every time they are together. (Libber 336) “Like his Biblical namesake Jacob, Jake has trouble sleeping because he wrestles nightly with his fate. He is an American living in Paris as a newspaper correspondent. He was rendered impotent by a World War I wound and is thus unable to consummate his love with Brett.
Both his physical condition and his terse manner embody the sterility of the age. ” (“The Sun” 327) Gonzalez 15 “The old systems of value, religion, honor, and sentiment were felt to be hollow after the experience of the trenches and the veteran hospitals. Who are the “walking wounded” of Hemingway novel? Jake himself serves as the most obvious example. A pilot flying for the United States on the Italian front, he was shot down and left impotent. His injury is both physical and psychological. Physically, it has not lessened his ability to feel desire.
So emotionally, it is a constant source of anguish for him, especially where Brett is concerned. Although they love each other, they can never consummate their relationship. They can, in other words, never completely connect, and so the novel suggests, they can never be truly happy together. ” (Templeton 443) 3. Reversal of gender roles “In other words, Brett assembles a traditional man in her sexual expectations, and Jake resembles a traditional woman in his sexual unavailability and his uncomplaining tolerance of others’ inconsideration.
The reversal, both overt and implied, in their gender roles signals that something has gone awry between the sexes. ” (Sanderson 179) 4. Foil of Roomer who acts as the ideal male figure “Beret’s final conquest is the young bullfighter, Pedro Roomer, fifteen years her Junior, almost young enough to be her son. She conquers him with sexual fascination, and critics have likened her to the bull Gonzalez 16 controlling others with her moves. She offers him sexual experience with a worldly woman, and he offers her physical attractiveness, the appeal of youth, and, once again, novelty.
After Cohn beats him, Brett again plays the nurse/maternal role, caring for Roomer. When he insists, however, that she should grow her hair out and be more womanly, she sends him away. The long hair is metronomic of a conventional Spanish marriage, Brett with long hair under a shawl, Pedro the dominant male in the relationship. ” (Hays 240) “The character most often identified as a model of behavior is the young bullfighter, Pedro Roomer. Early in the novel, Jake feels Cohn that “nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bullfighters. ” The appearance of an actual bullfighter later in the novel thus commands attention.
Pedro is described as a “real one” – a bullfighter who does always “smoothly, calmly, and beautifully” what others could only do sometimes… Josephs believes that all of the characters who make the pilgrimage to Pomona “are measured – morally or spiritually – around the axis of the art of tore. ” He identifies Pedro, the creator of the art, as the character closest to perfection. (Libber 337) 5. Irony of George and repetition of events “The first irony, of course, is that of the sexually incapable man engaging a prostitute to avoid his loneliness.
Having picked up George, Jake takes her to supper in a taxi where she makes an effort Gonzalez 17 to excite him sexually. He tells her he is sick without describing his injury. “Everybody’s sick,” she replies. This seemingly off-hand comment will reverberate through the novel where most of the characters are psychically and spiritually sick: Beret’s uncontrollable sexual needs; Mike’s alcoholism; Conn’s peepholes unrealistic romantic view; Sake’s spiritual malaise. For example, the taxi ride and the restaurant meal shared by Jake and George will be repeated in reverse order by Jake and Brett later in Madrid.
Hemingway wants us to remember the earlier scene, for it gives an ironic tone to the novel’s conclusion while undercutting Beret’s self-congratulatory dialogue. ” (Reynolds 69-70) Gonzalez 18 Works Cited Fore, Dana. “Life Unworthy of Life? : Masculinity, Disability, and Guilt in “The Sun Also Rises”. ” Hemingway Review 26 (2007): 74-88. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 4 Deck. 2012. Hays, Peter L. Imperial Brett in The Sun Also Rises. ” NAG 23. 4 (2010): 238-242. Advanced Placement source. Web. 4 Deck. 2012. Hemingway, Ernest.
The Sun Also Rises. New York: Scribner’s, 2006: Print. Libber, Jeffrey M. “Essay. ” In “The Sun Also Rises. ” Novel for Students 5 (1999): 324-348. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 Deck. 2012. Angel, James. “Brett and the Other Women in The Sun Also Rises. ” The Cambridge Companion to Ernest Hemingway. Deed. Scott Donaldson. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 87-108. Print. Reynolds, Michael S. “Values. ” Twine’s Masterwork Studies: The Sun Also Rises, A Novel of the Twenties 16 (1988): 59-73. Gale Virtual Reference Library.
Web. 4 Deck. 2012. Sanderson, Rena. “Hemingway and Gender History. ” The Cambridge Companion to Ernest Hemingway. Deed. Scott Donaldson. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 170-196. Print. Templeton, Erin E. “The Sun Also Rises. ” Literature and Its Time Supplement 1: Profiles of 300 Notable Literary Works and the Historical Events that Influenced Them 1 (2003): 439-447. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 Deck. 2012. “The Sun Also Rises. ” Novels for Students 5 (1999): 324-348. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 Deck. 2012.