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.