Character Brett Ashley in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises

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The Character Brett Ashley in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises

There is a common perception among casual readers--who hasn't heard it voiced?--that Ernest Hemingway did not respect women. The purpose of this essay is to examine one work in such a way as to challenge these heinous assumptions. Hemingway's persona will be left alone. What will be examined is the role of women, as evidenced by Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises, and what, if anything, it reveals in the way of settling this account of Hemingway as misogynist.

Brett Ashley enjoys a unique position of power in the novel--in today's vernacular, she "wears the pants" in all her relationships. The feminist perspective, no doubt, will find this true, but rapidly move
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His love is unconditional.

Mike, nor Robert Cohn, nor the former Lord Ashley loved her unconditionally. They had Brett wrapped in all types of chains. It is against this regressive mind-set that Brett fights. They all want to own her. But, not Jake. And Jake as narrator is Hemingway's nearest relative. Jake's voice is hardly distinguishable from Hemingway's own. Given that, I'd say the author invented an arch-type of modern man in Jake Barnes. Jake is the friend you can count on. He's the guy, who if he were alive today, would memorize Bly and bang drums in the woods under a full moon. He's sensitive.

Speaking of sensitive, what is the reader to make of Jake's faulty machinery? The feminist in me screams, "That's the only reason Jake acts the way he does, because he's been neutered in war." Excuse the graphic nature of this, but Jake is still a man with two hands and a tongue. Having children never enters into the equation. Brett's no Mommy. In other words, I reject the notion that Jake is less a man for his injury. He is, it fact, a better man.

The Sun Also Rises is a seminal work from a writer at the peak of his skills. Hemingway, like his narrator, Jake Barnes, does the work of a journalist. The novel serves as a field report for the societal changes brought on by the "Great War." The role of women in the culture was very much on the minds of thinking people. It was on Hemingway's mind, and he wrote about it eloquently throughout his
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