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gender changes in the sun also rises Essay

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The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway is a story of being apart of

the “Lost Generation” in the 1920's. The Great War had changed the ideas

of morality, faith and justice and many people began to feel lost. Their

traditional values were changed and the morals practically gone. The “Lost

Generation” rejected Victorian ideologies about gender, sex and identity.

The main characters, Brett and Jake, redefine masculinity and femininity,

drifting away from the Victorian ideals of sexuality and identity.



Lady Brett Ashley is a perfect example of how women in the “Lost

Generation” changed. Brett strives for an individuality that Victorian women

would not look for.
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something like what Count Mippipopolous, a very sane and stable

man, could have provided her with.

Jake Barnes is an example of loss. Not only does he lose his morals

and traditions in the era following the Great War, but he also loses his

“masculinity” in a tragic war accident that ended in impotence. This accident drastically changes Jake’s views on masculinity. Traditional ideas of what it

means to be a man have been changed by the war. “Jake tries to define

himself as a man even as a war related genital wound denies him the most

basic assertion of manhood, sexual gratification.” (Fulton) The handicap

seems to take away from his authority and his idea of male invincibility. As

a result of his impotence, a new man arises. This man sits back and

suppresses his sexual desires and quietly endures the hard times of life,

much like a Victorian woman would.



Jake can sense the transition of gender roles and is not happy or

secure with it at all. “Jake objects... to femininity express through the wrong

body.” (Elliott, 80) He fears that his handicap makes him feminine, thus, he

looks to other things to keep from thinking about it. He goes out drinking

with his friends to avoid thinking about all of his problems and his fears.

Amidst this time of
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