Sun Also Rises Theme

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The Sun Also Rises written by Ernest Hemingway is an accurate portrayal of the “lost generation” of young adults who had to once again discover who they really were after much disillusionment and a lost sense of purpose following World War I. The distinction of what is socially acceptable becomes lost in the attempts of the lost generation to establish their own code of ethics by which to follow. Within the story, Brett Ashley, Robert Cohn, and Jake Barnes have no specific goals for themselves, but they are constantly seeking to find pleasure and happiness within their life. It is not until the end that Brett admits that she and Jake would have had fun together, and Jake simply replies, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” There is a constant search for acceptance, fulfillment, and conclusiveness to make their lives count and rise above the mediocrity of everyday.
Within The Sun Also Rises, the search for acceptance seems to plague the characters. Some are searching for acceptance from others, while some are seeking to find acceptance of the past. With the loss of her true love in the war due to dysentery, Brett has to accept what has happened and carry on. She marries and has affairs with numerous men, but this is never good enough, and she continues to search. Jake says that being in love is fun and an enjoyable feeling to which Brett replies, “No, I think it’s hell on earth” (Hemingway 27). Cohn feels inferior and unaccepted by others because of his treatment as a Jew during his time at Princeton. Jake tells the reader, “He learned [boxing] painfully and thoroughly to counteract the feeling of inferiority and shyness he felt on being treated as a Jew at Princeton” (Hemingway 3). His self-consciousness leads him to marry the first g...

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... to live her life happily. Jake searches for conclusiveness to his love with Brett. When he replies with “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” he is not saying that in an affirmative way. He replies in almost a mocking way because he knows that if things would have been different, Brett would still not be satisfied with him and would continue to chase her disillusionment. He loves her very much, but he realizes that he and Brett would never work.
Following World War I, the young adults coming out of war were lost and confused. They were trying to rediscover the purpose of life while working through the disillusionment the war caused. The Sun Also Rises depicts this generation through the stories of Brett Ashley, Robert Cohn, and Jake Barnes. They seek to find happiness and pleasure in their life by searching for acceptance, fulfillment, and conclusiveness to move forward.
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