"The taxi went up the hill, passed the lighted square, then on into the dark, still climbing, then leveled out onto a dark street behind St. Etienne du Mont, went smoothly down the asphalt, passed the trees and the sanding bus at the Place de la Contrescarpe, then turned onto the cobbles of the Rue Mouffetard. There we lighted bars and late open shops on each side of the street. We were sitting apart and we jolted close together going down the old street. Brett’s hat was off. Her head was back. I saw her face in the lights from the open shops, then it was dark, then I saw her face clearly as we came out on the Avenue de Gobelins. The street was torn up and men were working on the car-tracks by the light of acetylene flares. Brett’s face was white and the long line of her neck showed in the bright light of the flares. The street was dark again and I kissed her. Our lips were tight together and then she turned away and pressed against the corner of the seat, as far away as she could get. Her head was down."
- The Sun Also Rises, 33
From the torn street to the cold circulation of the impartial taxi car, this paragraph vibrates with Hemingway’s ideological loathing for rising modernity. It is my contention that the taxi exists as a blunt statement that society is under attack by the machine. The taxi is a machine, and it cannot take them anywhere without their input. Machines are run by people. People are the masters of machines, and when machines start to dictate the movement of those who supposedly run them, humanity is lost. I believe Hemingway wished to show Jake and Brett as an example of how the modern world affects our humanity, specifically that culture and interpersonal re...
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...modern world, whereas the taxi shows the dependence of people upon the overwhelming presence of the machine. The taxi is restrictive and non-productive; it is depicted as a despot, a cruel leader who dictates the lives of its citizens through gross inaction and passivity. The bus is in the same class of modernity as the taxi, but it is a much more benevolent and socially conducive vessel. While The Sun Also Rises immediately tastes like a sad and pessimistic novel, through this examination of the text I believe that the story is downright apocalyptic, suggesting that the only antidote against the poisonous infusion of modernity is the rescue and continued cultivation of deep-rooted tradition.
Harvey, David. The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford Press: Basil Blackwell, 1989.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. Scribner: New York, NY. 2003.
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