The Sun Also Rises Critical Essay

3893 Words Nov 27th, 2007 16 Pages
In this excerpt, Cochran disagrees with the body of criticism which finds The Sun Also Rises overtly cynical, focusing instead on the circularity of the human condition.

Emphasis in the considerable body of criticism in print on The Sun Also Rises rests with the cynicism and world-weariness to be found in the novel. Although Lionel Trilling in 1939 afforded his readers a salutary, corrective view, most commentators have found the meaning inherent in the pattern of the work despairing. Perhaps most outspoken is E. M. Halliday, who sees Jake Barnes as adopting "a kind of desperate caution" as his modus vivendi. Halliday concludes that the movement of the novel is a movement of progressive "emotional insularity" and that the novel's theme
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You could get your money's worth. The world was a good place to buy in. It seemed like a fine philosophy. In five years, I thought, it will seem just as silly as all the other fine philosophies I've had.

Perhaps that wasn't true, though perhaps as you went along you did learn something. I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe If you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about.

Certainly Jake is not rejecting life, any more than Count Mippipopolous (" 'one of us,'" Brett insists) is "dead." Nor is love dead in The Sun Also Rises; it is, rather, unattainable—or better, never to be consummated. All of which is to say that The Sun Also Rises is a far less bitter and a far more mature book than is A Farewell to Arms.

In any event, nothing in the passage actually chosen and printed as the second of the two epigraphs for The Sun Also Rises is in contradiction to Hemingway's assertion that the abiding earth is the hero of his novel. There can be no denying, however, that circularity such as that contained in the epigraph may be employed by an author to suggest meaninglessness. Perhaps it may even be said that our usual response to circularity is that it suggests meaninglessness. But when in a literary work circularity is demonstrated to be the pattern of life, the response of the reader is to be governed by the artist's presentation; whether the

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