Although both Hemingway and Faulkner use their writing styles to create characters who no longer recognize the world around them, Hemingway uses short, simple prose to create characters who thoughtlessly avoid their problems while Faulkner's messy stream of consciousness establishes characters who scramble to make sense of their new reality. In Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, Vardaman Bundren struggles to find a solution that will allow him to cope with the loss of his mother. By focusing on thoughts, Faulkner captures the inner torment of his characters. In Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, Jake Barnes suffers a war wound that leaves him unable to have a relationship with the one woman he truly wants, Lady Brett Ashley. Hemingway's lack of insight on his characters' feelings demonstrates Jake abstains from thought and focuses his attention on actions.
Throughout the novel, Jake Barnes finds himself unable to face the reality of his post-WWI life. Although the nature of Jake's injury is never discussed, it is clear that he suffered an injury in the war that left him impotent and therefore incapable of acting upon the desire that he still feels. Early in the novel, Brett and Jake share a kiss, but Brett immediately regrets it, “'Don't touch me,' she said, 'Please don't touch me'” (Hemingway 30). Brett tells Jake that being around him makes her weak with a desire he cannot fulfill, so he asks, “'Isn't there anything we can do about it?'...'I don't know,' she said, 'I don't want to go through that hell again'” (Hemingway 31). Since Jake was rendered impotent Brett refuses to be with him because of her need for sexual satisfaction, but despite this, they both have a strong sexual attraction towar...
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...ative and provide conflicting interpretations of characters and events...one purpose of such experiments is to demonstrate the degree to which characters' selfish purposes color their perceptions of reality” (Vescio 1). Faulkner's stylistic choice to center his narration on stream of consciousness establishes the importance of understanding that Vardaman's confusion could not be expressed through actions alone, but rather through his progression of thought.
. Hemingway and Faulkner were realists who focused not solely on physical actions and thoughts, but on the effect the physical world has on its inhabitants. The world has the ability to be a destructive force against someone and yet that same person can use the world to put distance between them and whatever they have suffered. Using this, both authors succeed in revealing the nature of the human mind.
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