The Sun Also Rises Essay

The Sun Also Rises Essay

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The Biblical book of Ecclesiastes proclaims that while generations may pass away, the Earth abides forever. That the sun also rises just as it sets. It explains the circular movement of nature and the unlimited endurance of the earth even though human generations' last only a short time. It is a message that ironically couples awe in the earth with the realization that human existence plays only a miniscule part in the workings of the universe.

Hemingway begins with this allusion to Ecclesiastes in his own novel, The Sun Also Rises. In it Hemingway paints a story about a group of expatriated intellectuals living in Paris. They are part of the "lost" generation. Hemingway gives insight into the moral, sexual, religious, intellectual and political ideas of the Existential philosophy using his narrator, Jake Barnes to relate the events of his and his friends' lives.

The group is made up of Jake, the narrator of the story, Lady Brett Ashley, her fiancé Mike Campbell, Robert Cohn, and Bill Gorton a friend of Jake's. As we enter their world we soon find that they do not hold to the traditional morals of that time. They are free in the use of alcohol. Jake is apparently unperturbed with soliciting the services of Georgette, a whore, and bringing her to a party with his friends, although we later find out it would not be possible for him to sleep with her. Sex is also treated very casually among this group. Brett is engaged to Mike but she still sleeps with Robert and with Romero. We do see some remorse in Brett because of her actions she explains to Jake that she can not help her need for sex and that she feels bad for leaving Romero, but we get the sense that she is still not going to stop this behavior.

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...g of the novel. He seems to be even more worthy to be called man than any of the rest of his friends. Mike is a drunk and Robert is totally lost in a fantasy world. Jake finally realizes that he can not continue to be so "hung up" over this woman or she will eventually destroy him.

This novel brings to mind many hard issues that face the individual within mankind. Hemingway shapes his characters and their actions to show the beliefs of those that follow the existentialist philosophy. It is a novel of the struggles of one man to overcome the hardships he faces in this world. Its' depiction of humankind is both ironic and triumphant. Just as the Book of Ecclesiastes explains that man's comprehension is limited by his understanding of the magnitude of time and space so does The Sun Also Rises show us the smallness of humanity in reference to the universe.

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