The Sun Also Rises and Empire of the Sun

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In a world of chaos and conflict the value of society is often demeaned. Warfare affects the difficulty of coping mechanisms and leads to isolation and abandonment. Both in Earnest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” and in J.G.Ballard’s “Empire of the Sun” the protagonists are distraught and torn by warfare. “The Sun Also Rises” follows the journey of Jake Barnes a post-World War one veteran whereas “Empire of the Sun” follows the journey and maturation of a young boy during the time period of World War two. Throughout both stories, warfare experiences and situations psychologically and emotionally distress the protagonist’s and are leading factors as to how they’re dehumanized. When it comes to the genuine components of the stories, specifically the change in trauma, loss of innocence, dilemma in character vs character, and the life transition construct theme and conflict.
Disturbing experiences often cause traumas and emotional response which eventually lead to deep distress. In “The Sun Also Rises” most characters are suffering from some sort of post-war traumatic stress. Jake expresses his grief when he says “You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another” (Hemingway pg#). This quote demonstrates how regardless of where you go, that physical and mental trauma will remain. Jake is so distraught from the war that he is incapable of curing himself of the trauma. Although the characters are attempting to flee Paris in efforts to free themselves of the emotional damage he believes that the idea will not successfully help them recover. In “The Empire of the Sun” the protagonist, Jim, is separated from his parents and is placed in a setting in which he is devalued. After prolonged aba...

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...ave for the camps” (Ballard 127). This quote demonstrates the lack of loyalty in Basie. Although Jim’s fear of being sold led him to follow the commands of Basie, Basie still chose to save two Englishmen over Jim in the camps. This implemented mistrust and a sense of betrayal. This is similar to the relationship of Jake and Cohn, as their friendship is unclear. Although they seem to be helping each other through the warfare journey, complications seem to sway them away from their friendship. On the contrary, Jake and Cohn’s friendship is being damaged due their love for Brett, whereas, the relationship between Jim and Basie is being damaged due to Basie’s lack of loyalty towards the commitment Jim had towards their friendship. In both cases, this situation is emotionally distressing the characters while also diminishing their only existence of friendship.
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