The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

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Ernest Hemingway is an American twentieth century novelist who served in World War I. During World War I, he served as an ambulance driver for the Italian army. He wrote the novel The Sun Also Rises in Paris in the 1920s. Hemingway argues that the Lost Generation suffered immensely after World War I because of severe problems with masculinity, alcohol, and love. Masculinity creates a strong tension amongst the male characters in The Sun Also Rises. The clearest example is the impotency of the main character Jake Barnes. Jake explains to Georgette how he was hurt during the war in order to prevent her from becoming infatuated with him (Hemingway 22). The battle wound rendered Jake impotent, so he cannot be with his love, Brett Ashley. Throughout the novel, Jake witnesses Brett’s affairs with other men; his insecurity is enhanced. Robert Cohn, Jake’s Jewish friend, is a former boxer who did not experience World War I firsthand like the rest of Jake’s friends. Hemingway explains why Robert boxes: "He cared nothing for boxing, in fact he disliked it, but he learned it painfully and thoroughly to counteract the feeling of inferiority and shyness he had felt on being treated as a Jew at Princeton" (11). Robert practices boxing as a way to counteract his insecurity; he thinks he will gain respect and intimidate others. Instead, Robert is always found to be the center of jokes and criticism from his peer group; he nonchalantly brushes it off but is concerned about his identity.
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