Jake Barnes and Robert Cohn take a long trip to Spain. They set out to go fishing but meet a girl that stops them in their tracks. They both fall in love with her but she refuses to go out with one of them. Although this is a major struggle in his life, Jake has to deal with many other internal problems. Hemingway uses these characters to describe the life of injured war veterans in the lost generation. The Sun Also Rises is a drama that sets two people apart because of a tragic accident that one could not overcome. The story begins as Jake Barnes, the protagonist and narrator, is describing his longtime friend, Robert Cohen.
After reading a book about Spain, Robert begs Jake to go with him on a fishing trip but Jake thinks it is useless. “Listen, Robert, going to another country doesn’t make any difference. I’ve tried all that. You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that” (Hemingway pg. 19) When they finally get there they meet a stunning young woman named Lady Brett Ashley. Jake falls deeply in love with Brett, but because of an accident in combat he is not able to satisfy her womanly needs. “It’s funny,” I said. It’s very funny. And it’s a lot of fun, too, to be in love. ” “Do you think so? ” her eyes looked flat again. “I don’t mean fun that way. In a way it’s an enjoyable feeling. ” “No,” she said. “I think it’s hell on earth. ” (Hemingway pg. 35) Brett wants to love Jake but she cannot have him, which creates the sensation of “hell on earth” for her. While Jake cannot seem to make Brett love him, he has to watch her wander through an endless number of relationships while he waits for her and he has to travel cross-country when Brett needs him the most.
Hemingway’s novel is set in 1924 at the end of WW1 as the lost generation arrives back home. Jake and Robert begin their journey in the city of Paris, France The pair move on to Pamplona, Spain, and then conclude their journey in Madrid, Spain. During their time in spain, the pair spend most days at parties and most nights drinking their sorrows away. “It was like certain dinners I remember from the war. There was much wine, an ignored tension, and a feeling of things coming that you could not prevent happening. Under the wine I lost the disgusted feeling and was happy.
It seemed they were all such nice people. ” (Hemingway pg. 151) When they are not out drinking or partying, they are at bullfights watching Pedro Romero, their friend and promising young bull rider. The setting affects the plot because it is the lost generation which is a group of people that lived in Paris during the 1920’s and 1930’s. These war torn vets would spent most of their time partying and drinking in an attempt to fulfil themselves after having lost much in the war. “Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it?
Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already? ” (Hemingway pg. 19 )This time period affected the plot because it changed how the characters spent their time and with whom they spent their time. The setting affects Jake because it makes him sad to see Brett fall in love with so many different people. The point of view is first person protagonist through the eyes of Jake. The reader experiences everything that Jake does, therefore the reader is limited to Jake’s point of view and does not experience what the other characters are feeling or seeing.
The Sun Also Rises is written in first person protagonist, so the reader does not know the feelings of the other characters in certain situations. The reader only knows as much as Jake knows. While Jake is telling the story the reader begins to take his side and grows closer to him because he is the only person that the reader is getting the story from. Reading the book might have been a lot different if the reader was able to see how Brett or Cohn felt in certain situations. As the story develops Jake Barnes, a WW1 veteran, becomes a journalist.
He has multiple sides to his personality. He can be very sweet, nice, and loving guy, but he has a very dark side to him and wants to hurt Robert because he is stealing Brett from him. He is also a brave, strong, and determined man that is fighting for the love of lady Brett Ashley. “It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing. ” (4. 25) Her love, however, is being taken from him by countless other guys that Brett dates. In addition to being a handsome enjoyable guy, Jake has a great paying job that he loves and a nice house.
Even though he is very well off, he is emotionally unstable and insecure due to his war injury which limits his ability to be intimate with the woman he loves. Due to his tragic accident, Brett won’t go out with him because she wants kids. It is revealed very early on that Jake would do anything to earn the love of Brett. Jake is heartbroken all of the time which causes him to drinks constantly. “He calls her Circe,” Mike said. “He claims she turns men into swine. ” (13. 52) He also refused to accept the reality of his situation which might have lead to his mental instability.
He represents the lost generation after WW 1 while he wanders around the streets of Paris. Robert is a very flat and static character. He is in love with Bret which makes Jake hate him. Jake thinks that Cohn doesn’t deserve to love Brett because he is a weak man with no job and no money. Jake cannot stand and even wants to kill Cohn but he never lets him know how he really feels. “I have never seen a man in civil life as nervous as Robert Cohn–nor as eager. I was enjoying it. It was lousy to enjoy it, but I felt lousy. Cohn had a wonderful quality of bringing out the worst in anybody” (Chapter 12).
Cohn comes off as very ignorant because he has no idea of what it going on with Brett. The reader does not know the private thoughts or feelings of Cohn because Jake is telling the story. Lady Brett Ashley is a strong, beautiful, and independent woman who refuses to settle down with any one man. She refuses Jake’s advances because he would not be able to satisfy her due to his injury. “Couldn’t we live together, Brett? Couldn’t we just live together? ” “I don’t think so. I’d just tromper you with everybody. You couldn’t stand it. “(7. 7)
She is very unsatisfied with being alone all of the time ut would rather be independent in her own charming way. “Mr. Barnes,” the count poured my glass full. “She is the only lady have ever known who was as charming when she was drunk as when she was sober. ” (7. 18) Brett acts confident and charismatic around males at parties, but alone or with friends she is very unhappy and insecure about herself. Brett’s behavior and feelings make her a round and dynamic character. She is a beautiful and well dressed lady that all of the women want to be and all of the men want to be with. The bullfights that Jake and his friends go to are the symbolism in The Sun Also Rises.
For example, every time something significant happens with the bulls, it parallels with what happened or what will happen among the friends. Perhaps the most important metaphor in the book is Jake’s wound. His impotence doesn’t allow him the relationship with Brett that he desires and seems to turn him away from the possibility of happiness. He is scarred by the war, and the common avenue to happiness is denied him. This wound is a metaphor for the psychic wound that the horror of World War I caused in the culture of the lost generation.