World War I was a war in which much new technology and innovation was used. This advancement made killing more effective and the horrors of war even greater. The trench warfare on the Eastern Front was horrendous. Poison gasses were used to flush soldiers out of trenches. When they emerged, they would be met by bullets from machine guns, which would mow men down. Survivors of the ghastly battles had the images and memories scarred into their minds. Young men were sent to war, and what they saw changed them forever. One of these men was a certain ambulance driver on the Italian Front. He witnessed the effects of the new innovations on the human body, and the devastation they caused. That man was Ernest Hemmingway, and after the war, he translated his memories and experiences into the literature that is now famous. Novels like The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms are examples of this defining literature (“The Sun Also Rises” 332).
Those soldiers that returned from the war were traumatized beyond belief. They were disillusioned and stunned by what they had gone through in World War I. They were a generation of people morally and spiritually lost, and dubbed the “Lost Generation” by Gertrude Stein (“The Sun Also Rises 332-334).
One of Hemingway’s talents was to create characters with flaws and obstacles that challenge them. The protagonist in The Sun Also Rises is Jake Barnes. He was emasculated in World War I. Most of his obstacles involve his injury and the self-consciousness associated with it. The memories of the war traumatize him as well as the other veterans. Jake is insecure about his masculi...
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...” was an era when much change occurred and those living it were unsure how to react. Veterans of the war were scarred. Morality seemed to be lost in the world as the “Roaring Twenties” started. Hemingway took the culture of the times and put them onto paper. His characters in The Sun Also Rises demonstrate what many people experienced. The disillusionment many felt, the insecurity of others, and the desire to escape reality were all prominent at that time. Most of the people of the time and the characters in Hemingway’s novels were a “Lost Generation” in every sense.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Scribner, 2003.
Ira Elliott. “Performance Art: Jake Barnes and ‘Masculine’ Signification in The Sun Also Rises.” (American Literature, 1995); excerpted and reprinted in Novels for Students. Vol 5 (Detroit: Gale, 1999), pp. 338-342.
Jeffery M. Lilburn, in an essay for Novels for Students. Vol 5. Detroit: Gale, 1999, pp. 335-338.
Robert W. Cochran. “Circularity in The Sun Also Rises” (Modern Fiction Studies, 1968); reprinted in Novels for Students. Vol 5. (Detroit: Gale, 1999), pp. 342-347.
“The Sun Also Rises.” Novels for Students. Vol 5. Detroit: Gale, 1999.
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