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Robert Cohn Vs Robert Cohn

Decent Essays
Moving on to the next character that struggles with his identity, Robert Cohn, much like Jake, wrestles with the question of is he a bull or is he a steer? While, unlike Jake, he is capable of sexual relations and has an affair with Brett, Cohn delivers the ironic statement that “it’s no life being a steer”, hinting at his insecurity in terms of his masculinity (Hemingway 145). On the surface, it would appear that Cohn does not have adequate reason to be insecure about who he is as a person. After all, he suffers no side effects from the war and is able to live his life as he pleases, dissimilar to Jake. But Cohn is set apart from the others in the story. Gross brilliantly puts into words just how subtle this differentiation can be by stating “how natural it seems . . . to call Jake Barnes Jake, Mike Campbell Mike, Bill Gorton Bill, Lady Brett Ashley Brett, and how unnatural . . . to call Robert Cohn Robert” (123). He then follows this up with the assertion that “Jake, and everyone else, calls Cohn Cohn to distance him” (Gross 123). Another aspect of this differentiation results from Cohn’s status as the only Jew in the novel. One further distinction is the idea that Cohn has never known real love. As Jake points out in the beginning, Cohn “was married by the first girl who was nice to him”, not a woman he truly loved (Hemingway 12). Upon meeting Frances, a literary woman who took a liking to Cohn and wanted to marry him, Cohn fancies that “he was sure he loved her”
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