The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

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In the first chapter, the reader is introduced to both Jake Barnes
and Robert Cohn. As Jake describes Cohn and criticizes his
personality and behavior, the narrator is revealing much about
himself as well. Jake's cynicism is developed through the foil of
the naïve and somewhat doltish Cohn. Jake keeps a distant,
noncommittal stance from this passive man, just as he keeps a
distant, noncommittal stance on life and relationships in general
with the help of his ironic views. Cohn is a good target for Jake to
practice his irony on. He is a man without a healthy sense of his
own limitations. Moreover, Cohn wants to be Jake's friend and
goes about culling Jake's favor in exactly the opposite way Jake
likes. He continually checks with Jake about Jake's feelings. Since
Jake is a man who works hard to avoid dealing with his feelings,
he develops a special dislike of Cohn. He also sees in Cohn a part
of himself that is disgusting, a romantic side that he would like to
desert forever, but that he cannot escape. He also resents Cohn
because he has not been through the war and lost his idealism. As a
result, Jake believes that Cohn still acts like an immature boy.
Despite his feelings about Cohn, Jake does not admit his dislike
openly. In fact, he says he likes Cohn. It is in his subtle critique of
all of Cohn's life choices that his dislike of this passive creature is
clearly revealed.

OVERALL ANALYSES

CHARACTERS

Jacob Barnes

Jake is a spectator character. He watches the others and largely
stays in control. He enjoys easy camaraderie and dislikes false
sentimentality. He is happiest when his life is structured by steady
work, either at the newspaper or with fishing.

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He is also happiest
when out of the city and away from women.

He is flawed, a flaw marked physically by his wound, which
makes him impotent, but one that shows up on the level of
personality as well. His weakness is in his inability to separate
from Brett. He goes along with her desire for Romero and in so
doing, he violates the code that he so much respects.
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