The Sun Also Rises is a novel narrated by Jake Barnes.
This novel is made up of three different book. Book one takes place in Paris,
France. Book two takes place in Spain which is where Jake travels, but he is
mostly in the town of Pamplona. Book three also takes place in Spain.
In the first book Jake connects with many Americans who
live outside of their native country. He spends a lot of time with them, going
to restaurants, drinking and talking. We first meet a man named Robert Cohn who
is a Jewish writer. Cohn is staying in Paris with his fiancée Frances. She is
described as a woman in her thirties who is afraid that she is aging fast and
is losing beauty, so she thinks Cohn will leave her. In the end Cohn actually
does end up leaving her. We also meet Lady Ashley, also known as Brett. Jake
and Brett used to have a thing but now he wants to start that up again and get
back together. Brett does not want the same. She makes it clear to him that it
isn’t that she does not love him, but that she can’t handle being with him due
to his injury that he received in WW1. Jakes genitals were badly injured and he
is no longer able to perform sexually. So instead, Brett wants to marry a
wealthy man named Mike Campbell.
Between books one and two, Frances goes back to England
and Brett goes to San Sebastian where she ends up having an affair with Cohn.
Most of book two takes place in Pamplona, Spain, where they all gather together
to watch the festival of San Fermin and the bullfights.
There is a
lot more drinking and partying that takes place. Mike and Cohn get into a
number of arguments over Brett. In the meantime, Brett falls in love with a nineteen-year-old
bullfighter named Pedro Romero.
She has an affair with him. Cohn becomes upset that he is losing Brett and gets
into a physical fight with Jake and knocks him out. Then Cohn gets into a fight
with Pedro and beats him up badly. Book Two ends with Cohn leaving town, Brett
running away with Pedro, and Mike drinking himself unconscious.
When book three begins, the festival is over. Jake travels to San
Sebastian, where he gets a telegram from Brett saying that she’s in trouble in
Madrid. When he gets to Madrid, Brett explains that she broke up with Pedro
because he wanted to marry her and she didn’t want to. She also says that she
can’t marry Mike any more. The story finishes with Jake and Brett going out to
explore Madrid together, but we’re left with uncertainty of where life might
take them next.
If World War 1 never happened, Jake would
probably be a total stud. All the woman would want him and the men would
be jealous. Unfortunately, in our world, and in the novel, World War I most definitely
did happen, and it left an
ugly scar upon everyone it affected. Jake is no exception. His scars are not
only mental, they’re physical too.
Georgette looked up to be kissed. She touched me
with one hand and I put her hand away.
“What’s the matter? You sick?”
“Everybody’s sick. I’m sick too.” (23)
a war wound that makes him unable to perform in sexual activities. Which to
him, explodes the image of him as a hero. He’s a hero who’s not able to be a
hero, a man who can’t perform his manly duties. Even though women definitely
do want him, they can’t
have him. While men admire and respect him, they certainly don’t want to be him.
represents the aimlessness and dissatisfaction of the post- World War 1 era. He was permanently
marked by the war, and he’s just one of the thousands and thousands of young
men damaged by it. He may try to keep a calm and collected front, but when
he lets his guard down he’s shaken up pretty easily. Jake is a symbolic object of
an entire generation damaged by the trauma of a war of global scale, which most
people have never seen before.
“I lay awake thinking and my mind
jumping around. Then I couldn’t keep away from it, and I started to think about
Brett and all the rest of it went away. I was thinking about Brett and my mind
stopped jumping around and started to go in sort of smooth waves. Then all of a
sudden I started to cry.” (39)
In this moment Jake breaks down and gives in to
his despair about his hopeless relationship with Brett.
is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night
it is another thing”. (42)
This quote is talking about how Jake is having some difficulty
staying strong through everything. In the quote he mentions how the nights are
hard, probably because he’s all alone. It isn’t hard to get too into your head
when you’re alone for a long time. What he struggles with makes it difficult
for him to interact with others. When he does talk to others, he isn’t giving
them his full self because he doesn’t think he can.