Friday, July 9, 2010

Farewell The Sun Also Rises...

The Sun Also Rises had an unexpectedly abrupt ending. I still felt like I was in the middle of the story when it got cut off. Looking back, I'm not sure that there was a definite plot to this story after all. There was no climax, resolution, or anything of that matter as far as I can tell. The reader is left at a cliffhanger wondering what will become of the characters Jake and Brett. They do not end up together, so do they end up happy at least? That's what I would like to know. Contrary to my belief that it would be unveiled to the reader at some point why those two could not be in love, the answer never came. Maybe someday they'll end up together after all. With characters as unpredictable as these I could see it happening easily.
Something I admired about Jake was how he came to Brett's rescue as soon as she sent him the telegram. He had no idea what the emergency was, but he wasted no time whatsoever in leaving to find her. The extent of his love for her is a rather admirable quality in a man. He is and always will be her most trustworthy, reliable, and loving friend she has in her life.
"Oh, Jake," Brett said, "we could have had such a damned good time together."
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
"Yes," I said. "Isn't it pretty to think so?" (page 251)
To me, Jake's final response to Brett's remark says it all. He would love to believe that what she is saying is true but he is smart enough to know that it is not.
The theme I got from this story is that love is pain. Everytime a character was in love, they seemed to suffer more than they celebrated. In my opinion, it showed a different, more jaded side of love.
What interested me about his chapter was the fact that each character is going his own way. They were all interconnected in a peculiar way throughout the story line, but now that it is over they are all parting and continuing their separate lives. Jake decided to do some further traveling before going home, making a relaxing pit stop at San Sebastian. The subject of money came up between the men Bill, Mike, and Jake before they parted. It is brought to the reader's attention that Mike is bankrupt and has no money. He spent what little he had on the fiestas in Spain. Although this worried me, he appeared to have a carefree attitude about the matter. By the sound of it, Jake is the only character who is financially stable and can afford what he spends his money on. It is also revealed that Lady Brett is broke. I found that tidbit of information interesting since I figured she would have some money left over from her previous marriage. Considering she's an alcoholic I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.
One part I really liked was the description of San Sebastian. It sounded like a beautiful place to visit. As a matter of fact, I am in Myrtle Beach right now for a national dance competition so I was daydreaming that it was me standing on the beach instead of Jake.
"The beach was smooth and firm, and the sand yellow... The sand was warm under bare feet. There were quite a few people in the water and on the beach. Out beyond where the headlands of the Concha almost met to form the harbor there was a white line of breakers and the open sea." (page 238)
I looked longingly out my balcony window after I read that.
I am beginning to think that this novel is not one with a happy ending. As it becomes closer and closer to the end, I feel as though most of the characters are unhappy with their lives. All except for Brett and Romero I suppose. They think they are in love at the moment. So far, I can't tell if it's the real thing or not. Based on her past, I can't see their romance lasting too long. But then again, I've been wrong about characters before. There was one part that made me believe it was real though. While Romero was in the ring, this was what was written:
"Never once did he look up. He made it stronger that way, and did it for himself, too, as well as for her. Because he did not look up to ask if it pleased he did it all for himself inside, and it strengthened him, and yet he did it for her, too." (page 220)
Once again, the bull fighting scene captivated my interest. Reading about the suspense and the tactical aspects of the sport has sort of made me want to see a bull fight firsthand someday. Do they still have those in Spain? I'm sure they do since they're so traditional in Europe. This novel makes it seem more like an art than a gory and bloody spectacle.
The plot of this story is getting rather complicated. Basically, it's all because of Brett. Cohn ended up fighting just about everyone he saw the night he found Brett with Romero, and got himself into a huge tangled mess. Now nobody likes him and he was forced to leave the fiesta before it was finished. I have a feeling that I won't be seeing much more of Robert before the end of this novel.
I am growing a little tired of the men in this story acting rash and immature. It seems to me that all any of the characters really do everyday is get drunk and say things they will regret later. I don't understand how none of them have responsibilities or real lives that prevent them from being able to do this so often. As of right now, I cannot tell where the plot of this story is going.
"He said if Cohn helped him he'd kill him, and he'd kill him anyway this morning if Cohn wasn't out of town. Cohn was crying, and Brett had told him off, and he wanted to shake hands." (page 206)
At least that explained the source of Robert's tears the night before. It must have killed him to hear Brett tell him herself to leave her alone. I think this teaches the audience a valuable lesson: people who act rashly always have to suffer the consequences later. Therefore, Cohn will have to suffer for the poor decisions he made that evening.
I've come to the conclusion that I do not understand Jake Barnes at all. He loves Brett more than anyone else, and for that reason he always overlooks her faults and flaws. Each time she hurts him or makes him jealous with another man, he simply ignores the matter and almost seems to pretend it hasn't happened at all.
I don't understand Brett any better either than I understand Jake though. She too said that she loved Jake in the beginning of the novel, but she is never capable of showing it. Instead, she entertains the affections of all kinds of other men and doesn't remain faithful to anyone. She is most assuredly a promiscuous character who only looks out for herself. Currently, she has decided that she is falling in love with the famous bull fighter, Pedro Romero. I believe that this is largely because of his good looks and great talent as a bull fighter. Mere infatuation, if you ask me. If it were not for his possession of these likeable qualities, she would not be nearly as interested.
"I'm a goner. I'm mad about the Romero boy. I'm in love with him, I think."[Brett]
"I wouldn't be if I were you." [Jake]
"I can't help it. I'm a goner. It's tearing me all up inside." (page 187)
At the end of the chapter, Jake discovered that she and Pedro had the left the cafe alone together. I feel sympathy for Jake in this situation. It must be terribly difficult for him to watch the woman he loves supposedly fall in love with someone else.
I focused mostly on the bull fighting and the description of Pedro Romero. Romero was remarkably different from all of the characters who have been introduced to the reader so far. By his description, he sounded older and more experienced than his real age. Even though he was only nineteen, he exuded a certain confidence in the text.
"His black hair shone under the electric light. He wore a white linen shirt and the sword-handler finished his sash and stood up and stepped back. Pedro Romero nodded, seeming very far away and dignified when we shook hands. Montoya said something about what great aficionados we were, and that we wanted to wish him luck. Romero listened very seriously. Then he turned to me. He was the best-looking boy I had ever seen." (page 167)
I'm not the only one who was interested in Pedro; moreover, Brett seemed to find him absolutely captivating. She commented on his good looks and great skill as a bull fighter. While she watched him in the ring, Jake explained to her all his techniques and what was going on. What I am more curious about is where Jake learned all these aspects of bull fighting. He was able to explain them in great detail, and knew all the differences between their techniques as well.
"Romero had the old thing, the holding of his purity of line through the maximum of exposure, while he dominated the bull by making him realize he was unattainable, while he prepared him for the killing." (page 172)
I wish I knew what he meant when he discussed Romero's purity of line and movement before preparing the bull for the kill.
I liked how this chapter gave me insight as to what Jake Barnes is thinking. Due to the fact that his feelings towards Brett have varied throughout the entire novel, it was intriguing to hear what was on his mind. Personally, I think he feels jealous of Mike's romance with her and started disliking Cohn because of his affection towards her. He keeps saying that he doesn't care about her anymore, but it is easy to see that is clearly untrue.
"I paid my way into enough things that I liked, so that I had a good time. Either you paid by learning about them, or by experience, or by taking chances, or by money. Enjoying living was learning to get your money's worth and knowing when you had it. You could get your money's worth." (page 152)
I liked this point of view. I especially liked the part about "learning to get your money's worth and knowing when you had it". That is an intelligent statement. In order to be happy, one must know what makes them happy and go after it. It also means that someone needs to realize happiness when it comes to him. If it is not acknowledged, then it doesn't exist as fully. People need to learn to appreciate happiness and good fortune when it is present.


This was one of the first few chapters that I found humorous and interesting to read. Jake, Bill, Brett, Mike, and Robert have all finally met up again. When they went to see the bulls unloaded, I tried to pay even closer attention because I have never read anything about that before. I found the process to be pretty interesting for the most part. Is that still how they unload them today? I realized while reading this that I never took the time to think about how bulls were transported to where the fights take place. It must be incredibly difficult to try and force a bull to go inside a trailer...I have a feeling that wouldn't be the most successful task in the entire world. On another note, what I found humorous was when Mike criticized Robert for followingBrett around. He used a simile to compare Robert with a steer. It was definitely effective in my opinion because I could tell that he was becoming more obvious in his attachment to her. His infatuation with Brett is getting a little out of hand.
"Tell me, Robert. Why do you follow Brett around like a poor bloody steer? Don't you know you're not wanted? I know when I'm not wanted. Why don't you know when you're not wanted? You came down to San Sebastian where you weren't wanted, and followed Brett around like a bloddy steer." (page 146)
Although Mike was harsh, I have to admit there was truth to his criticism.


What struck me most about this chapter was not the use of irony, but rather the lack of using irony when it was continually mentioned. Bill kept trying to question Jake about irony and pity even when it became clear that he didn't know what he was talking about.
"Aren't you giong to show a little irony and pity?"
I thumbed my nose.
"That's not irony."
As I went down-stairs I heard Bill singing, "Irony and Pity. When you're feeling. . . Oh, Give them Irony and Give them Pity. Oh, give them Irony. When they're feeling. . . Just a little irony. Just a little pity. . ." He kept on singing until he came down-stairs. (page 118)
Irony is defined as a discrepancy between appearances and reality. Therefore, I fail to understand what Bill was getting at, and if I were Jake I would have been confused too. What was so ironic about trying to wake Bill up in the morning? I do not feel as though the author was effective in his use of irony in this instance. Nowhere do I see a difference between a literal and implied meaning, or what is expected to happen and what actually does happen. Maybe this was a popular phrase at the time the book took place. Either way, I still do not understand what was so critical about irony and pity to Bill Gorton.


There have been several times that I have come across in my reading dialect-type words. While they were in Paris, Brett would often use French words, or ones like "chap" and "darling" when talking to others. In this circumstance, I came across many newer words: Basque, klaxon, arriba, posada, aguardiente, and centimes. The author's purpose of incorporating dialect into his novel is to make the setting more real to the reader. It adds another aspect to his writing that most novels lack. I think that this method is effective in terms of The Sun Also Rises.
"We each had an aguardiente and paid forty centimes for the two drinks. I gave the woman fifty centimes to make a tip, and she gave me back the copper piece, thinking I had misunderstood the price." (page 112)
The only thing that would be more helpful was if he also included footnotes. I hate not being familiar with the terms he uses. Occassionally it can lead to confusion for the reader.


In this chapter, good ole' Hemingway really outdid himself on imagery. I found him to be quite effective on his explanations of the city of Bayonne.
"It was hot, but the town had a cool, fresh, early-morning smell and it was pleasant sitting in the cafe. A breeze started to blow, and you could feel that the air came from the sea. There were pigeons out in the square, and the houses were a yellow, sun-baked color, and I did not want to leave the cafe." (page 97)
By the end, I could imagine where the characters were and what everything looked like around them. Since they were in Spain, I sort of had a picture in my mind of what it would look like anyways, but irregardless I liked how he explained everything. I imagined a setting kind of similar to Greece. Cobbled streets, crowded markets, and adobe houses. Seeing as how I've never actually been to either Spain or Greece, I could be completely wrong on that one. I'm also looking forward to hearing more about bull fights in future chapters. Bull fighting was apparently rather popular at the time because it has been mentioned multiple times already.

Local Color

Hemingway uses local color in this novel with his special emphasis on the setting and dialect of the story. Already, he has made countless references to places in the city of Paris, and often refers to streets and cafes by name. I wonder if all of those places actually existed at the time, or if they are merely made up for literary use.
"We crossed the bridge and walked up the Rue du Cardinal Lemoine. It was steep walking, and we went all the way up to the Place Contrescarpe. The arc-light shone through the leaves of the trees in the square, and underneath the trees was an S bus ready to start. Music came out of the door of the Negre Joyeux. Through the window of the Cafe Aux Amateurs I saw the long zinc bar." (page 83)
One place that caught my attention was the city of Biarritz. The people who met Jake and Bill on the train kept mentioning it. However, since they were traveling to Spain instead to go fishing with Cohn, they didn't elaborate much on what could be found there.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

This chapter seemed rather uneventful. Many of the main characters left at the beginning, leaving Jake alone to meet new people and focus on his work. Brett, Robert Cohn, and Frances had all gone traveling somewhere. This allowed the introduction of a new character - Bill Gorton. Something I picked up immediately about Bill was his tendency to repeat words. Every description he gave of Budapest was "wonderful" in some way while Vienna was "not so good". I've noticed that multiple characters repeat themselves in this novel.
"How about Vienna?" [Jake]
"Not so good, Jake. Not so good. It seemed better than it was." [Bill]

"...Tight, Jake. I was tight." [Bill]
"...Four days, Jake. Lasted just four days." [Bill] (page 76)
Another character the audience got to meet was Michael Campbell. Brett is Michael's supposed bride-to-be. We'll see how that turns out. I have a feeling that those two will not end up getting married after all. Michael appeared a bit erratic. He kept asking the men to admire Brett and spoke of how lovely she was. It was a little over the top to be honest.


While skimming my list of literary terms, Hemingway's use of epanalepsis really stuck out to me. There was actually a small part of the chapter that I had to reread because it was so repetitive.
"I'm not joking you. I never joke people. Joke people and you make enemies. That's what I always say." [Count]
"You're right. You're terribly right. I always joke people and I haven't a friend in the world. Except Jake here." [Brett]
"You don't joke him."
"That's it."
"Do you, now? Do you joke him?"
Brett looked at me and wrinkled up the corners of her eyes.
"No, I wouldn't joke him."
"See, you don't joke him." (page 65)
I'm not particularly sure why this was emphasized so heavily, but it was. I was struck with just how flirty Brett can be through her banter towards the count. She is turning out to be quite the provocative character. Even though she is engaged to marry someone else, she has no problem entertaining the many affections of other men. I wouldn't trust her at all if I were Jake. Right now, I don't like the direction that her character is taking.


Once again, Jake was out to dinner and Cohn somehow found him. I'm starting to find it rather coincidental that all these characters have the ability to find each other at restaurants all over town every evening. In addition, I'm also sort of curious as to how they have the time and money to go out each night. That doesn't seem realistic to me. Anyways, the focus of this chapter was primarily on the character Frances Clyne. Although she has always been portrayed as somewhat pushy, her attitude towards Robert makes her appear downright bitter and resentful towards him. I was struck by the tone of her dialogue while she was speaking. She spoke with a level of passive aggressiveness, yet it was clear that she was angry with Cohn. Even Jake was shocked that Robert would allow her to speak to him like that.
"Do you want to hear, Robert? I'll tell you. It's so simple. I wonder why I never thought about it. Why, you see, Robert's always wanted to have a mistress, and if he doesn't marry me, why, then he's had one. She was his mistress for over two years. See how it is? And if he marries me, like he's always promised he would, that would be the end of all the romance." (page 58)
Her tone is clearly one of utmost resentment. I also observed that she's using a common argument technique of most women. They somehow always know how to make a man feel guilty about something, and then keep pressing the issue without letting it drop. I took Cohn's silence as a sign for him either not knowing how to respond or him not having much of a defense against her argument.


There have been several times throughout the story so far where the war has been mentioned. Since the novel is set in the 1920s of Paris, this war previously referred to must be World War I. In my opinion, the war is probably to blame for everyone's prejudice and preconceived notions about others. I've picked up that certain nationalities were mistreated at this time (i.e. Cohn for being Jewish, Georgette mentioning that she hates Flamands). Either way, the war's affect on society intrigues me. It also revealed more about Brett.
"I don't know. I just don't believe it. Have you known her a long time?" [Cohn]
"Yes," I said. "She was a V.A.D. in a hospital I was in during the war." [Jake] (page 46)
This must have been how Jake and Brett met one another. It made me sad to hear that her one true love died of dysentery. All in all, I think that Hemingway's allusion to the war is an important one for the reader to better understand the time period.

External Conflict

At this point, I am rather confused about Jake and Brett's relationship. They speak of how they love one another, yet they say they cannot be in love. Why, you might ask? Good question, I have no idea. By the sound of it, Brett does not want to be in love with Jake but simply cannot help it.
"It's funny, it's very funny. And it's a lot of fun, too, to be in love." [Jake]
"Do you think so?" her eyes looked flat again. [Brett]
"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." (page 35)
Brett does not find love as a source of happiness. Rather, she finds it as a source of suffering. When Jake returned to his room, he thought of Brett and began to cry. This further perplexed me. Why can't these characters be happily in love? This anguish demonstrates an external conflict. It is a conflict between two people in love. Perhaps the author will unveil the reasoning behind this is a near chapter.

Indirect Characterization

After focusing on Cohn for the first two chapters, the focal point switches dramatically to a different character, Jake Barnes. I think Jake radiates a mysterious aura when the chapter begins. He meets a woman named Georgette and invited her to drink and have dinner with him. Later, he extended his invitation and took her dancing with him. When they come across his friends, Jake introduced her as his fiancee. I am still sort of confused as to why he did this. By the description in the novel, Georgette does not sound like an appealing character in my opinion. My main point of interest in this chapter; however, was when Lady Brett came into the picture. Hemingway's use of indirect characterization is threaded through his description of her. He also reveals some of the effects she has on other characters because of her beauty.
"Brett was damned good-looking. She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy's. She started all that. She was built with curves like the hull of a racing yacht, and you missed none of it with that wool jersey." (page 30)
It appeared that she did not lack any attention from men either. What I found most interesting was how Brett and Jake left together at the end of the evening. Jake did not seem to be very worried about the money he was losing. On the contrary, he seemed to be quite enjoying himself once Brett was with him. It becomes apparent at the end of the chapter that the two characters actually know each other well.
In this chapter, Cohn's discontent with his life became clear. It seemed to me that he was having a midlife crisis. I am getting the feeling that Robert Cohn is one of those people who is never truly happy, so they spend their entire life trying to find something that will "complete" them or make them better. People like that, unfortunately, can never attain true happiness. Happiness cannot be found through something else. An individual has to be accepting of themselves to find it first. I also think it is important for a person to think for himself. The fact that Cohn got all of his ideas through another book sort of bothered me. I wish he would think for himself instead. His friend Jake appears to think the same way I do.
"'The Purple Land' is a very sinister book if read too late in life," he warned. "For a man to take it at thirty-four as a guide-book to what life holds is about as safe as it would be for a man of the same age to enter Wall Street direct from a French convent, equipped with a complete set of the more practical Alger books." (page 17)
Clearly, Jake is the more practical and realistic of the two characters. Cohn is filled with too many daydreams.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Sun Also Rises
by Ernest Hemingway

As the novel began, I was struck as I often am with numerous questions. It always interests me to see what information an author will reveal about a character in the first few pages of a novel. Sometimes the author will simply jump into a storyline, other times he will begin with backround information, and yet others will start in the middle of a suspenseful moment and then flashback to the beginning. The Sun Also Rises was one that began with backround information. Many small details were revealed about Robert Cohn in this chapter. Facts like he was a middleweight boxing champion of Princeton, was Jewish, and came from a wealthy family were all revealed. Although these seem random now, I have a feeling that they will become important later either to the storyline or to understanding his character. I also picked up that Cohn has self-esteem issues. This became evident in his attitude towards boxing, his lifestyle in general, and his relationships with women.
"He cared nothing for boxing, in fact he disliked it, but he learned it painfully and thoroughly to counteract the feeling of inferiority and shyness he had felt on being treated as a Jew at Princeton." (page 11)
The fact that he married the first woman who paid him any attention says something about his character. And his reaction towards her leaving him showed that he does not really see himself clearly or realistically. His relationship with Frances is even more unhealthy. The first chapter introduced Robert Cohn as a jagged and flawed character.