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Students . . .
. . . If you are submitting to this blog post for your final exam, remember to add a few comments (after a line separator) at the END of your entry after the works cited (should be the FINAL, not first, revision of your term paper) explaining why this post was one of the most appropriate to your paper's topic/thesis. Don't forget that you need to do this for two blog entries and you need to submit a paragraph informing me of which two blog entries you submitted to and an explanation why to turnitin.com. All of these steps need to be completed to get credit for the final exam.
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." ~ William Butler Yeats
Image Source: http://www.gmu.edu/library/specialcollections/sunrise2.jpg
I was very impressed with your comments on Hughes's "On the Road," in the last blog entry, and with your engagement with the text of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises in our last meeting. As with the meeting before last, several of you stayed after class to discuss your experiences with the work. Even though I may seem to be in a hurry at times, I do appreciate those remarks and I am always happy to see someone "turned on" to a piece of literature they've never encountered before.
To recap what we did in our meeting and your current assignment We began with a writing prompt. Slowly, we have been discussing the concept of “theme” in American literature. Theme is not the same as subject. Subject is the topic. The theme of a fable is its moral. The theme of a parable is its teaching. The theme of a piece of fiction is its view about life and how people behave. For example, “questioning tradition,” or “prioritizing loyalties” might be themes. A good way to find a theme is to identify repeating patterns, symbols, and allusions. In our last meeting, for example, we looked at the themes of coldness, “otherness” or outside-ness, doorways, and hypocrisy in Hughes’s “On the Road.”
In our writing prompt, I asked you to explore any themes you may have discovered in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926)? There were no one “right” or “wrong” answer. A narrative can have many themes. You may have thought of one that no one else has. I only wanted you to be able to explain your theme (defend) by point to specific examples from the text. Also, were there any themes in The Sun Also Rises in common with any of the short stories we have read thus far?
The music I played in the background was George Gershwin's "An American in Paris" from 1928.
After the writing prompt, we moved into our weekly in-class quiz. Since this meeting had to cover the material from two class meetings (which equal six class meetings in the regular 3-meeting per week world), our quiz was longer. Essentially, you answered four questions instead of the normal two. In any event, it seems that most of you aced it. If you were absent and want to see the questions, here they are (remember, I am collecting all questions and reproducing them in the coursework section of J-Web):
1. The Sun Also Rises takes place in the early 1920s in what countries?
(A) England and France
(B) England and Spain
(C) France and Spain
2. What is Brett’s title?
3. Jake asserts that “Nobody ever lives their life all the way except...”
4. What condition does Jake most likely have?
5. What distinguishes “Robert” from Jake, Brett, Count Mippipopolous, and Mike?
(A) He is an alcoholic.
(B) He is an American.
(C) He is not a war veteran.
6. Who is Count Mippipopolous?
(A) A man Jake wounded during the war
(B) A bullfighting expert
(C) A wealthy Greek expatriate living in Paris
7. Jake often feels like crying
(A) when he’s with Brett
(B) when he hears stories about the war
(C) at night
8. What does Jake dislike about the men Brett dances with at the club?
(A) They are rude to him
(B) They are homosexual
(C) They treat Brett disrespectfully
9. Why do Jake and his friend Bill travel to Burguete?
(A) To fish
(B) To work on a story
(C) To drink
10. What does Jake say to Brett at the end of the novel?
(A) “Things have a funny way of working out”
(B) “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”
(C) “No, of course I didn’t invite him!”
11. Count Mippipopolous espouses the philosophy that life
(A) is a series of unrelated and meaningless events
(B) is a succession of necessary, character-building trials
(C) is made up of many pleasures that are meant to be enjoyed
12. In this novel, what is an “aficionado”?
(A) Someone who drinks too much absinthe
(B) Someone who has passion for bull-fighting
(C) Someone who hires prostitutes
13. Which character gets sick at the bullfights?
14. What do most people drink at the fiesta?
15. The two telegrams that Jake receives from Brett are essentially
(A) pleas for him to help her
(B) reports of Robert’s unbalanced behavior
(C) Promises that she will soon return to him
16. At the beginning of the novel, Hemingway quotes someone who coined the phrase, “a lost generation” Who?
(A) F. Scott Fitzgerald
(B) Gertrude Stein
(C) Mark Twain
Next, we recapped what we covered in our last meeting:
(1) We looked at various theories of literary criticism, the “tools” for discussing it.
(2) You had some practice applying theory to the five short stories we’ve read thus far.
(3) We discussed the concepts of “irony,” “dualisms,” “symbolism,” “(external parallelism) allusion,” and “internal parallel imagery.”
(4) We applied those concepts to Langston Hughes’s “On the Road” in a group activity.
(5) On the English-blog, you wrote about Langston Hughes’s “On the Road” and the idea of journey as a metaphor
Then, we did a chapter by chapter analysis of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises where each student was assigned their own chapter. After a few minutes of independent research, you reported each character than appeared in your chapter, the geographical setting(s), and the movement of the story/plot developments. As a class, we decided which characters were major and which characters were minor based on the class-agreed-upon definition: "A character for whom the story would be drastically altered without constitutes a major character."
During the break, I asked you to pick up your quizzes from the previous meetings and to sign up for a minor character to discuss for your reading response homework assignment. I told you that I had put up some details about the grading of the quizzes on J-Web in the forums section. The film clips I played during the break were from the 1957 film adaptation of The Sun Also Rises with performances by Tyrone Power, Eva Gardner, and Eroll Flynn.
After the break, I made the announcement that your meeting absences are recorded on J-Web but you can begin to watch your coursework scores on turnitin.com. Please be sure that you are submitting your reading responses to both the English-blog AND to Turnitin.com by the deadline to receive credit. In a few cases, some of you only submitted to one place so you will find that you have a zero recorded for that assignment.
Our second activity involved pairwork about the following concepts/questions:
1. From what perspective/point-of-view is the narrative told? Who is the narrator? Is the narrator the same person as the author? Why or why not? Also, is the narrator a “reliable narrator”? That is, is the narrator telling the reader “everything” or is the narrator “holding back”? Do we only get his “take” on the other characters or do we get to look inside their heads?
2. Who is the antagonist of this story? How does the antagonist act as a “foil” for the antagonist? Identify both and be prepared to discuss the connection between the two.
3. Discuss the binary of realism versus idealism or romanticism. Which characters are “realists” and which characters are idealists/romantics? Explain why and provide evidence from the text.
4. Discuss the characterization of Lady Brett Ashley. Is she a sympathetic character? Is she a positive female role model? Does she treat her male friends cruelly? Most of all, is she a believable character?
5. Describe Robert Cohn’s characterization. Why is Robert verbally abused so often in the novel? Why does Mike attack Robert but not Jake, whom Brett actually loves? Why does Robert accept so much abuse?
Theme: The War
6. Compare Jake and Robert. How does the fact that Jake went to war and Robert did not make them different from each other? What qualities do they share with the rest of their acquaintances? Is it safe to call them both outsiders? Why or why not?
7. It has been said that alcoholism destroys more than just the individual who is the alcoholic. Do you know what is meant by this? Substitute the word “war” for alcoholism. How does “war” destroy the lives even of those not on the battlefield. Then, analyze The Sun Also Rises in the context of World War I. How does the experience of war shape the novel’s characters and their behavior? Examine the differences between the veterans, such as Jake and Bill, and the nonveterans, such as Robert and Romero. You may mention other veterans/non-veterans
8. Discuss the problem of communication in the novel. Why is it so difficult for the characters to speak frankly and honestly? In what circumstances is it possible for them to speak openly? Are there any characters who say exactly what is on their mind? If so, how are these characters similar to each other?
9. Stein called Hemingway and the others who had moved to Paris in the 1920s “a lost generation.” First, explain the lifestyle of the "lost generation" living in Paris as described in the novel. Second, taking what you now know about symbolism and allusion, decide if you think the characters of A Sun Also Rises are “lost.” If so, in what sense (both literal and/or symbolic)? Discuss.
10. Discuss the role of “impotence” in the story. Where does it pop up in the story in both the literal sense and the symbolic sense. What does it mean for someone to be impotent? Why is it an important theme?
11. Antisemitism plays a big role in this story. Remember, this is BEFORE WWII. These are, for the most part, not German, French, or Spanish characters. These are Americans living overseas. Find as many places as you can where Jewishness plays a role in the character’s discussions and explain why characters exhibit anti-Semitic language or thoughts. Why is this happening, or, why is this important to the story? Are there any other hateful/ignorant comments made about other ethnic groups in the story?
The first part of your homework assignment is to begin reading our next novel, Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. On March 5th, our next meeting, we will discuss the first half of the novel, so read chapters 1 through 10 (there are 20 chapters).
The second part of your homework assignment is to do a reading response. Some of you thought that I would be requiring a hardcopy. This isn't so. Your previous assignments have also been reading responses. Like the others, they are due in digital form on both Turnitin.com AND here, the English-blog in the comment box below.
Your response should focus on a “minor character” of your choice (pre-selected from the sign-up sheet) from The Sun Also Rises. (If you were absent and still want to do the assignment, see which ones are still available below). This is, again, an exercise in research within the text. Your assignment is to find every mention of this character in the text. You should write a few paragraphs explaining who this character is, was he/she present in the story or only mentioned? Did he/she have a speaking role? In what chapter(s) was he/she mentioned? Tell me as much as you can about this character, why he/she is important and what role he/she plays in the narrative—i.e. what is his/her connection to the other characters, the setting, and context. You should use specific page numbers from the text in your response to refer to your character. Here is the list:
_Sam_________________1. Frances Clyne
_Christy______________2. Count Mippipopolous
_Shantavia____________3. Georgette Hobin
_Melissa______________4. Harvey Stone
_Hallie________________7. Harris (or Wilson-Harris)
_Natasha______________9. Spider Kelly
_Candice_____________10. Cohn’s first wife
_Jodi________________11. Henry Braddocks
_Robert______________12. Mrs. Braddocks
_Brenton_____________13. Robert Prentiss
_Chris K.____________14. Lett and Zizi
_Erin________________15. Woolsey and Krum
_(still available)_______16. Madame Duzinell
_Chera_______________17. The Basque peasants—The men on the bus.
_(still available)_______18. Marcial Lalander
_Ryenn_______________19. Lord Ashley (the husband of Lady Ashley)
_Heather_____________20. Vicente Girones—The man killed.
_(still available)_______21. BOOKS—Jake reads quite a few books in this story. Name each book and the author. What does Jake or the other characters say about the books he reads? Be sure to provide the chapter and page numbers that they appear. You may need to google the books’ titles to find out the full names of the authors.
_Vivian______________22. CITIES—The characters of The Sun Also Rises mention and go to quite a number of cities. Name each city and country the city is in, in the order that they appear in the narrative. Does each country have its own “personality” according to the way they are presented by Hemingway? If so, what? Be sure to provide the chapters and the page numbers that each city appears. You may need to google the cities to find out what country they are in if you can’t deduct from the text.
_Theresa_____________23. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES—There are several types of spirits drunk by the characters of The Sun Also Rises. Mention each kind and the location that they are mentioned (city and country) in the order that they appear. Be sure to explain what the drink is (i.e. if it is a cocktail, mention that, explain what it is and any details, if given), who is drinking it, even if it is non-speaking characters, and what chapter and page number this information appears. You may need to google the different types of liquor in order to better explain what it actually is (for example, what is “Madeira”?)
To see how other students in my courses have handled their discussions of minor characters, please see the link HERE to the minor characters of Watership Down.
Looking foward to reading your responses. Great job on the first two! I will provide feedback for those who get their responses in early (not the day of class), or for those who did not follow instructions. If you didn't get feedback, it doesn't mean your response isn't acceptable--it just means you probably submitted it too close to class time to get feedback from me.
See you next week,
*NOTE: As with all reading responses submitted to the English-Blog for EL 267, you must first submit the response to the proper space on www.turnitin.com (the date for which it was assigned). To get credit, the response must be present in both places by the deadline. Submissions to only one will not receive credit, so beware!
Posted by lhobbs at April 29, 2008 11:54 PM
The character of Wilson-Harris first appears on page 130 of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and leaves again by page 135. Although Harris is considered a minor character because of the short space he occupies in the story, Hemingway uses Harris to depict the deep camaraderie between ex-soldiers.
One of the first clues to this deep link between ex-soldiers is that, although Harris is an Englishman, Bill and Jake both get along with him very well (130). Later, at the fiesta, Bill seems to have a problem with English people and even calls them “Damned English swine” (192) but his shared was experience with Harris allows him to instantly put aside his prejudice in the face of their shared experience. He refers to Harris as “good old Harris” (134) even though they’ve only known each other a few days, suggesting that the war experience creates a bond that goes beyond friendship. Since Harris doesn’t mention being in the war until the last evening with Jake and Bill (134) it’s possible that Hemingway is suggesting that the understanding between ex-soldiers of WWI is so strong that they can tell another soldier without ever being told.
Even though they barely know each other and Bill and Jake don’t even learn that Harris is really called “Wilson Harris” until several days after they first meet (134) the three take to each other and form a strong friendship right away. It seems very important to all of them that they managed to meet up and feel that connection to each other and the war. Bill and Jake talk for several lines about how nice Harris was and how much they wish he would have come along (135) and Harris repeatedly states how much it means to him to meet them, and even gives them each a gift of several fishing flies (134-135). This only seems to emphasize how much each was affected by the war and how much importance and how much they miss the bond of camaraderie between soldiers.
While these few pages don’t seem extremely important on the surface, they serve as a way to emphasize Cohn’s position as the outsider later on. Having never been in a war, Cohn has no bond with Jake and Bill. It’s possible that the animosity Bill shows toward Cohn and the secret hate Jake has toward him might stem, at least in part, from the fact that Jake and Bill don’t feel they can connect with him. Cohn can’t satisfy their desire to feel a bond of camaraderie, and they hate him for it.
Comments from your instructor:
An interesting exploration of this elusive character and his relationship with the others. It is appreciated!
Posted by: HallieG at February 28, 2008 07:02 PM
Turnitin.com / English-Blog #3
The minor character I choose to write about is Marcial Lalanda. He was described as a matador. A matador is a bullfighter in a bullfight that passes the bull with a muleta and then kills it with a sword. Marcial Lalanda is a bullfighter that is in the arena with Pedro Romero and one other man. All three together perform at the fiesta. Although, Lalanda is presented and mentioned he does not have a speaking part, only an acting part.
He is first introduced on page 175, when Montoya and Jake are discussing the message pertaining to Pedro Romero and Marcial Lalanda having coffee with them. Montoya explains that Marcial has been in San Sebastian all day and that he doesn’t think they will be back tonight. Chapter XVIII on page 216; was written about Romero and Marcial and Belmonte (another bullfighter) in action fighting the bull.
Hemingway writes about Lalanda as a smoker who is in competition with Belmonte (according to page 219, Belmonte has returned from his retirement to compete with the young and talented Romero; he knew competition with Lalanda was gained in advanced, though Romero was a great bullfighter who made Belmonte look terrible).
Marcial Lalanda is not a very important character, he is basically a character that is presented to the protagonist for entertainment. The connection to the other characters is that Lalanda is partners with Romero who turns out to be interested in Brett (Jake’s love).
Comments from your instructor:
A good engagement with the text. Keep this up!
Posted by: A. Farabaugh at February 29, 2008 04:28 PM
Blog Entry 3
Minor Character Analysis in “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway
Robert Cohn, the general annoyance throughout the story, has many loves in his life. The novel actually opens with the general back-story of Robert Cohn, his Jewish background and his years at Princeton as a boxer. Robert’s first wife appears in this chapter one and is described as “the first girl who was nice to him” (12). She is only mentioned in Jake’s description of Robert on that one page in chapter one, and therefore is never physically present in the story. Robert’s first wife does not even have a speaking role, she is that minor of a character.
Jake goes on to describe her as the mother of Robert’s three children and describes their marriage as being unhappy (12). He goes on to say that “just when he had made up his mind to leave his wife she left him and went off with a miniature- painter” (12). Jake described her leaving as a “very healthful shock” to Cohn (12). Robert’s first wife is a very insignificant character that is basically around to further illustrate the painful, unhappy life Robert had before he expatriated to France. She was also partially there to exemplify Robert’s unending bad luck streak with women.
Comments from your instructor:
Hard to believe that anyone was actually this crazy over Cohn, huh? Nice work.
Posted by: Candice S at March 1, 2008 06:56 PM
The Basque Peasants are only mentioned in one chapter of Hemingway’s, The Sun Also Rises (Chapter XI). In class we discussed that some aspects of this novel seem to be in there only to show what Hemingway knows. Initially, it seemed to me that the Basque peasants are a prime example of this. Although I certainly do not see them as major characters (the story could definitely take place without them), they really contribute to the overall atmosphere Hemingway is trying to create in the book.
Basque peasants inhabit a region shared by France and Spain in the Pyrenees Mountains. They are very friendly people who Jake and Bill meet on their bus ride to Burguete. They communicate with them as best they can, and they teach Jake and Bill how to drink from a wineskin. One of the men speaks English and they engage in a friendly conversation. Because they are a unique people, Hemingway’s including them not only shows that he has done his research and is knowledgeable in the area in which he is writing about, but it really provides an authentic feel to the atmosphere.
The Basque people are a kind of isolated group of people, and although they themselves are quite lively and interesting, they could be seen as a kind of “lost generation,” similar to that of Jake and Bill.
Comments from your instructor:
A very important point you made about other "Lost Generations." I smell a potential paper topic.
Posted by: Chera P at March 2, 2008 07:40 PM
Count Mippipopolous is my favorite character in “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Heminway. The Count is mentioned all throughout chapter four and chapter seven. The Count is introduced in the story in chapter four by another character ZiZi. The Count at once is attracted to Brett. We find out the most about the Count in chapter seven. The Count and Brett come to visit Jake. We find out between the drinking and conversation between Jake, Brett, and The Count that The Count is Greek and has been in many battles, seven wars and four revolutions. He shows his scars to Jake and Brett. We find out about the Count’s philosophy of life on page 67 when he says, “You see, Mr. Barnes, it is because I have lived very much that now I can enjoy everything so well.” Also on page 67, Brett asks the Count about his values and he responds saying that one of his values is love and that he is always in love.
The Count is important in the story because he represents a successful and rich character. He is wealthy and good looking and has everything that he could want, or at least this is how he is portrayed. He lives his life to the fullest and knows the right values to have in his life. This is what makes me like The Count so much. The Count plays an important role in the narrative because he FOILS Jake. Jake is everything opposite of The Count. He longs for Brett and is jealous of her lovers. He is very insecure about himself and is not wealthy. Also, Jake has been in a war, but he does not show off his scars that he brought back from it. Jakes scars are causing trouble in his life and are more serious than The Counts, while The Count has scars that he can show off and be proud of. Overall, The Count is a very loveable character who I believe everyone would want as a friend. He is important in the story because he shows a different type of man than those described in the story such as Jake and his friends, he is a FOIL character.
Comments from your instructor:
He's one of my favorites too. Thanks!
Posted by: C. Bell at March 4, 2008 11:27 PM
Frances Clyne is only talked about in the first two chapters, and the reader finds out that she is Robert Cohn’s girlfriend. The book describes her as being Cohn’s rebound from a bad marriage (p.16). Frances also appears with Cohn in chapter three when Jake shows up with Georgette. Chapter three is where Frances has her first speaking lines in the book as she talks to Georgette asking her what she thinks of Paris. Later in the chapter Frances is dancing (p.26).
Frances is talked about in chapter five as Jake suggests that Cohn take her with him where he goes. She appears in chapter six; showing up at the Café Jake was at (p.44). She asks to speak with him. Leading him away she tells him how Cohn doesn’t want to marry her, and wants to leave her. She says the reason he wants to leave her is that he isn’t living his life enough. She talks about how she wasted two years on Cohn and how no one will marry her now. They end up walking back over to where Cohn is and Frances talks about how she is leaving for England, because Cohn is sending her there to stay with friends (p.56).
Frances continues her rant about how Cohn grew tired with her. As she talks, she acts like none of what she is saying is an issue, just normal gossip. After this chapter Frances is not really seen or heard of again. Frances is important as she shows Cohn’s experience with women is little to none as he is easily tired of her (p.58).
Comments from your instructor:
See my comments for Candice's discussion of Cohn's ex-wife. Similar situation here. Good Job!
Posted by: Samantha G. at March 4, 2008 11:53 PM
The minor character that I am focusing on from the book entitled, “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway is a man named Montoya. Montoya owned a hotel in Pamplona called Montoya Hotel Pamplona. He was introduced into the story mid way through the thirteenth chapter on page 135, where he meets Jake and Bill as they check into the Montoya hotel. He shook their hands and said “Your friends are here” (Hemingway 135). Jake stays at the Montoya hotel during every fiesta. Montoya is a bullfighting expert and sees the sport as sacred. Jake shows great interest in bullfighting and Montoya admires his enthusiasm about it. Montoya takes great interest in chapter fifteen in a young gifted bullfighter names Romero. On page 166, Montoya introduces Cohn and Jake to Romero.
Although Montoya only plays a small role in the book “The Sun Also Rises” in chapters thirteen, fifteen and sixteen, he does contribute some significance to the story and everyone seems to like him.
Comments from your instructor:
Thanks for that insight into Montoya. You're right, of course. It is debatable whether or not he is a minor or major character.
Posted by: Thomas A. at March 5, 2008 01:16 AM
Woosley & Krum
Chapter five is the only appearance in “The Sun Also Rises” that Woosley & Krum. Woosley and Krum appear to be affiliated with Jacob Barnes through work. Woosley and Krum share a cab in chapter five and make small talk about playing tennis, (p 45). Woosley and Krum are not major character to this book and realistically if chapter five never happened the story would still be the same. I believe that Woosley and Krum support the reader’s view of Jacob. Everyone likes Jacob and gets along with Jacob, yet the only person Jacob opens up to in the story is the reader. Jacob makes small talk with everyone and everyone likes Jacob, he plays neutral through the entire book. Woosley and Krum just support that idea that Jacob is well liked and easy to get along with.
When Krum asks what Jacob did the previous night, after all the dramatics with Brett, Jacob replies to Krum like nothing out of the ordinary, “Oh, I’m over in the quarters,” (p44). The text also eludes that Woosley and Krum are business men. The reader knows this from the reaction of Woosley, “Englishmen always have Saturday off,” (p44). All in all these two characters are not important to the text’s plot, I feel that Woosley and Krum are reconfirming Jacob’s characters.
Comments from your instructor:
Interesting names those chaps have, huh? Any significance, you think? Excellent Work!
Posted by: Erin at March 5, 2008 08:13 AM
The characters in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises travel freely over several countries and through many small towns and large cities. Some of the main characters travel to certain cities, a few, multiple times, while others meet up with them there; some cities are mentioned in which all main characters spend a great deal of time together. There are several cities mentioned, almost in passing such as Chicago, St. Louis, Cannes, Lourdes, and Biarritz that do not appear to affect the plot, so these are not discussed in detail. A couple of cities are discussed in multiple chapters, but are reference here only once.
While Princeton, New Jersey (Ch. 1) is mentioned briefly, it seems like an important factor in the shaping of one of the main charters. My thought is that, like Robert, Princeton is cold, stale, unaware, and a bit uptight, completely unlike Paris, France (Ch. 1). While Paris is full of life, vigor, and fun, Robert seems to carry his Princeton attitude along.
New York, New York (Ch. 2) is exciting and enticing, which is a world apart from the explored Paris, France. San Sebastian, Spain (Ch. 8) is mentioned almost with secrecy. The vacation spot holds a bit of romance and charm but nothing like that of Pamplona, Spain (Ch. 8).
Vienna, Austria (Ch. 8) is mentioned in a context of a trying situation, leading me to believe that is a tough and uncaring city. Budapest, Hungary (Ch. 8) on the other hand, is wonderful. Bayonne, France (Ch. 9) and Burguete, Spain (Ch. 9) seem like natural and relaxing parts of their respective countries that allow for drinking and the enjoyment of hobbies.
Pamplona, Spain, (Ch. 9) discussed a great deal toward the end of the novel, has excitement around every corner. The city has a fun flavor that excites every character. This is by far the most intense and enjoyable city in the book. While each may view the events that took place in the city differently, all of the characters seemed engrossed in everything Pamplona had to offer. The fiesta preparations made way for great celebration and an atmosphere of fun.
Other Spanish cities mentioned include, Ronda, Malaga, Madrid, Tafalla, Estella, and Sanguesa (Ch. 16). These briefly referenced cities likely exhibit machismo characteristics, based on the bull fighter(s) and bull runner who hailed from them.
All of the cities in which main characters spent any substantial amount of time were probably conducive to a relaxed behavior, as eating and drinking was abundant and relevant. Most characters were able to fit into the European lifestyle of laid-back living and enjoyed, even if temporarily, the ability to live this way.
Comments from your instructor:
Great analysis! I wish I could take the class to all these places for some "real" experiential learning.
Posted by: Vivian Lee C. at March 5, 2008 11:11 AM
Lady Brett Ashley is a very important character in the novel, “The Sun Also Rises.” Her character makes her entry in the third chapter and is included in every chapter throughout the rest of the book. Without her character the story would not happen. Lady Brett Ashley is ahead of her time. During the 1930s, she was seen as a different kind of woman. She did not fit the traditional role of a woman during that time. She was very independent. Lady Ashley went from male companion to male companion. She lived her life spontaneously. It seemed as though she was never satisfied. Lady Ashley was very charming. Whoever came in contact with her during the story instantly was attracted to her. Her character seemed to trigger the reaction of all of the other characters throughout the novel, causing the story to basically be based on her actions. Lady Ashley’s physical appearance was also not of the norm. She had short hair and was a tad more masculine than other women. Many men in the story referred to her as being beautiful. It is ironic that Lady Ashley loves being independent, but yet Jake remarks in the book that “she never wants to be alone.”
Lady Brett Ashley’s past is very significant on why she is so independent. She was previously married. The husband she had made her become submissive. She felt as though he was holding her down. Once he died, she never wanted to feel that way again. Lady Ashley did not want to be settled again. Throughout the book, there are many chances that she has to be with one man. Mike is her fiancé, yet she runs around with Robert, Jake and Pedro. She instantly falls in love with Pedro Romero and he wants to marry her. He also wants her to conform to the traditional woman role. Lady Ashley refuses.
Comments from your instructor:
Ryenn, you were supposed to write on "LORD" Ashley, Lady Ashley's original husband, not on her (Brett is obviously a major character--that's the tip-off with regards to this assignment)
Good discussion of her, we'll keep it, but try again on "Lord" Ashley to get credit for the assignment! Be SURE you are using page numbers to support your claim as your peers are doing.
Posted by: Ryenn Micaletti at March 5, 2008 12:27 PM
Mrs. Braddocks, wife of Mr. Braddocks, is a friend of Cohn’s. Not a close friend, but they have met on several occasions. Mrs. Braddocks, along with Mr. Braddocks, go dancing with Jake and Georgette and the rest of the group that are discussed in the book. Although Mrs. Braddocks isnt a major character in the book, she along with her husband, do play a specific role at the dance by keeping the awkward peace among the group due to the dicey situation with Jake and Georgette, his prostitute for the evening. Also Mrs. Braddocks aided in keeping the awkwardness of Jake’s lies dubbed down through polite actions and keeping sociable with the group of friends as well as Jake at the dance. Mrs. Braddocks’ first worthwhile encounter, that I had found significant supporting Georgettes dry personality and Mrs. Braddocks’ bubbly personality, was when they had all met for coffee the morning before they met up later for the dance. The coffee scene opens up with Jake introducing Georgette to Mr. and Mrs. Braddocks as his fiancee Georgette LeBlanc. After some time, Mrs. Braddocks gets the sarcastic joke after Georgette tells her that her real last name is Hobin. Later that evening, the group meets up at the Bal, a small dance club. As the owner begins to play music, Lady Ashley, also known as Brett, comes into the dance club surrounded by five gentlemen. One of the gentlemen makes fun of Georgette and plays it off to dance with a prostitute. Jake gets upset by this and wants to fight the man dancing with Georgette, but instead heads off to a nearby bar for a drink. Upon Jake’s return, Mrs. Braddocks, assuming her great personality and role in the group, tries to break the tension and irritation of Jake by introducing him to Robert Prentiss. As the conversation continues, Jake is further irritated and storms off. It is Mrs. Braddocks and her bubbly personality that is constantly playing the “referee” in my mind, and tries to keep the peace by attempting to alleviate tension in her own way. She has this innocent, unknowing approach where she is unaware of certain things but has good intentions with all of her actions; she is almost naive in a sense.
Posted by: RD at March 5, 2008 01:12 PM
“The Sun also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway Character Analysis
I choose the Lady Brett Ashley to write. At first I think she is a very bad and misogynist women compare with the protagonist Jake Barnes, a journalist and used to be a veteran of World War I. She is beautiful but she drinks heavily. And we can see though she loved Jake she still refused to commit the relationship with Jake because she feel that will make her can’t have sex anymore, because of Jake’s deformity. But when I finished the novel I changed my idea, even Brett has a lot of men who became infatuated with her, she is unwilling to commit fully with any of them such as Robert Cohn – a rich American writer and Pedro Romero – a beautiful, strong, sexy bullfighter. She doesn’t want to stay with Jake just because she know they are not going to have a happiness future. I think she is a poor lady because her old true lover died in World War I make her feel afraid to face the love.
Comments from Instructor:
Three Things: You weren't signed up for Lady Ashley (see reproduction of list above). "Lady" Ashley wasn't on the list--"Lord" Ashley was, but Ryenn signed up for him. Lady Ashley wasn't a minor character--she was a major character. This assignment was about the minor characters. Try again before the deadline.
Posted by: Yichuan Sun at March 5, 2008 02:36 PM
The first of the two characters I chose was Lett. Lett first mentioned in Chapter 3 on page 28. He was the only guy mentioned out of the group of men at the bar. Lett was the tall dark person that Jake referred to when they Lett first appeared: “One of them saw Georgette and said: ‘I do declare. There is an actual harlot. I’m going to dance with her, Lett. You watch me.’ The tall dark one, called Lett, said: ‘Don’t you be rash.’ The wavy blonde one answered: ‘ Don’t you worry, dear.’ And with them was Brett.” (page 28). The final mention of Lett was on page 29. “Your fiancé is having great success,” Mrs. Braddocks looked out on the floor where Georgette was dancing in the arms of the tall dark one, called Lett. (page 29). Lett really held no importance in the story except to cause a little drama with Jake, the main character. Lett wasn’t portrayed to have a speaking part, rather, his buddy had the speaking part and Lett was the mentioned name because he was the person who danced with Georgette.
The second character I had was Zizi, who was first mentioned in Chapter 4 on page 36. Zizi’s entrance: “Oh Brett! Brett!” The little Greek portrait-painter, who called himself a duke, and whom everybody called Zizi, pushed up to her. “I got something fine to tell you.” “Hello, Zizi,” Brett said. Later on in the chapter, Jake mentioned Zizi while doing some finances in his checking book and reading a wedding invitation. Jake said: There was a crest on the announcement. Like Zizi the Greek duke. Zizi, like Lett, was not an important character. He had few lines to speak and really was only in the story to make it more dramatic.
Posted by: Chris King at March 5, 2008 02:58 PM
Ernest Hemmingway uses a multitude of characters that undertake various purposes in his novel, “The Sun Also Rises.” These characters can be categorized as either major characters or minor characters depending upon the significance they have to the story.
One of these minor characters is a gentleman by the name of Henry Braddocks. We are first introduced to Mr. Braddock’s character on page 13, where Jake Barnes says; “…Robert Cohn had two friends. Braddocks and myself. Braddocks was his literary friend.” Through this introduction, the reader thinks that if Robert Cohn is the major character of the story, and only has two friends, then both friends should be intricate parts of the story. However, we soon find out that “The Sun Also Rises” is not a novel about Robert Cohn as the first chapter leads you to believe, it is actually about Jake Barnes. Jake and Mr. Braddocks are not friends, which explains why Mr. Braddocks isn’t a major character. The only other thing that the reader can deduct from this first mentioning of Mr. Braddocks is that he knows Robert Cohn because Robert is a writer. His description of being Robert’s “literary” friend could mean that they are only friends when writing is concerned.
Mr. Braddocks isn’t mentioned in the story again until page 25, when Jacob Barnes and Georgette Hobin end up at the same restaurant as Mr. Braddocks, his wife, Robert Cohn and his girlfriend, and various others are at. Mr. Braddocks invites Jacob into the room, and then invites him to the dance that they have revived. This tells the reader that Mr. Braddocks may also be interested in the arts, as well as literature. Or that he is interested in the alcohol that will surely be present at the dance. Mr. Braddocks then invites Jacob and his friend into the other room to join them at their table for coffee.
On page 26, Jacob and Georgette join the others, and after introductions, the reader learns that Mr. Braddocks knows Georgette. This could be a signal from Hemingway to the reader re-affirming the fact that Georgette is a harlot, and Mr. Braddocks could know this fact first hand. The reader also learns that Mr. Braddock’s first name is Henry, when Mrs. Braddocks calls down the table to him. The fact that we learn Mr. Braddock’s first name is a testament that he is more important of a character than Mrs. Braddocks, whose first name is never revealed.
The group arrives at the dance club the Braddocks have restored on page 27. It is here that Braddocks states “I wish people would come earlier.” This statement can be taken as either Braddocks is bored, and wishes that there were more people or around, or that perhaps Braddocks invested money in this club, and in order for it to make money, needs more proprietors.
The last the reader sees of Henry Braddocks is on page 36, when Jacob runs into he and his wife at Café Select. Mr. Braddocks tells Jacob that Georgette got into a scrum at the bar earlier, and that someone eventually took her home. He then asks Jacob to stay for a drink, but Jacob declines. He asks Mr. Braddocks if he’s seen Robert. Mr. Braddock’s wife tells Jacob that he went home with Frances, and Mr. Braddocks adds, “poor chap-looks awfully down.” However, not with much concern for his friend. Which also leads the reader to wonder once again if Mr. Braddocks and Robert Cohn are actually friends, or if they have a relationship based on convenience.
Posted by: Jodi S. at March 5, 2008 03:17 PM
Belmonte is not a main character in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” He is a bullfighter that fights on the same day as Pedro Romero. Belmonte used to be a great bullfighter. However, when he came out of retirement to fight with Romero, he could not live up to the legends that grew around him. He is very bitter about this and dejected. Belmonte seems to in a way symbolize the entire Lost Generation because he feels out of place and almost purposeless in his later adult life.
Belmonte is not even mentioned in the book until the middle of chapter eighteen. He is mentioned during a bullfight that he was in against Romero. Belmonte came out of retirement just to fight against Romero. He soon finds out that he is not nearly as good at bullfighting as he used to be. The fight with Belmonte starts on page 216 and lasts until page 220. Belmonte plays a very minor role in the story. If you take out the scene with Belmonte completely, the story would still go on. Belmonte did not have a speaking role at all in the story. Jake just talked about Belmonte’s bullfight.
I think Belmonte is in the story to show how good Romero really is. It helps to show that people lose some of their abilities with age. Belmonte almost seems to be a foil for Jake because Belmonte is now living in Romero’s shadow, like Jake is with Romero.
Posted by: Michelle E. at March 5, 2008 03:44 PM
The character of Vicente Girones is an example of symbolism used by Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 novel, The Sun Also Rises. Vicente is visiting Pamplona to celebrate the fiesta. We are first introduced to him in chapter seventeen, the only chapter he appears in, when he is gored in the back while running with the bulls (200). Although his part is a small one, Vicente represents a transformation that occurs with one of the major characters, Robert Cohn.
Vicente is from a small town near Tafalla, located in Spain. He is twenty-eight years old, owns a farm and is married with two children (202). Symbolically, Vicente represents the traditional prewar ideals that represented masculinity. Although he is young, he has achieved many things, namely, a family and property. He leads a focused, purposeful life.
Through the use of foreshadowing, Hemingway relates the story of Vicente just prior to our learning of the breakdown of Robert Cohn. Robert has always been singled out from the crowd by his ethnicity, his non-veteran status, but most importantly, the fact that he embodied the old-fashioned way of living. He was unaffected by the war in that sense. Not fighting had caused him to still cling to those ideals, and everyone else in the group was always frustrated with him for doing this.
In chapter seventeen, there is a confrontation between Cohn and Jake. They begin fighting and Cohn strikes Jake, knocking him out (195). The man who never really enjoyed boxing is brought to the edge of madness by his obsession with Brett. His set of ideals is crumbling. He seeks out Brett and Romero. After an ugly fight between himself and the bullfighter, he is brought to his lowest point. After begging Romero to shake hands with him, an old-fashioned ideal in itself, Romero refuses and instead sneaks in one last hit, taking advantage of Cohn’s vulnerability (205-06).
The death of Vicente Girones symbolizes the passing away of the traditional prewar values. In his classic style of subtle writing, Hemingway then builds on this symbolism with the breakdown of Cohn and his eventual exile from Pamplona.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Scribner, 2006.
Comments from Instructor:
Thanks for your response. I am particularly interested in your theory that "Vicente represents the traditional prewar ideals that represented masculinity." This sounds fascinating. What are "the traditional prewar ideals" you are referring to? What are the postwar ideals that make them different from the prewar?
I appreciate your input!
Posted by: Heather S. at March 5, 2008 03:45 PM
Blog Entry 3
The minor character that I chose to focus on was Marcial Lalander. He is first intorduced in the sixteenth chapter of Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”. He is the friend and colleague of Pedro Romero. He and Pedro Romero are bull fighters in an arena. I believe that he is of Mexican of Latino decent because in Montoya and Jake constantly mention Spain while speaking of Romero and Lalander. After he is briefly mentioned in the sixteenth chapter, he is mentioned again on page 216. He does not speak but just stands there and smokes a cigarette. I do not think that there is a major connection between Lalander and Jake. He is more like a friend of Romero. He is considered to be a minor character because he was only mentioned twice and has no speaking role what so ever.
Posted by: Shayla Sorrells at March 5, 2008 04:05 PM
The character Edna, in the Sun Also Rises, is a very minor character. She is introduced in chapter 17 as Bill’s friend. She spends time with Bill and Mike throughout this chapter, as she talks about being thrown out of the fiesta of San Fermin in Pamplona. They drank too much and were making a scene (192). Edna stayed with the men that night because she was afraid they would pass out (199).
This character was important because she was used by Mike in attempts to make Brett jealous. However, Brett was no where to be found because she was off with Romero (191). Even when Brett found out that Edna was spending time with Mike, she did not seem to mind. So therefore, Edna did not make Brett jealous.
Posted by: Amanda S. at March 5, 2008 04:26 PM
Lord Ashley is only hardly mentioned throughout the novel. Lord Ashley is Lady Brett Ashley’s husband. Hemingway goes into brief detail about their relationship in chapter XVII. Lady Brett was unhappily married to him. He controlled her. Lord Ashley was always threatening to murder her. He also forced he also forced her to sleep on the floor. Lord Ashley always slept with a loaded revolver next to him, which Lady Brett would unload every night.
I feel that he is very important to this novel, even though he is not really present. Lady Brett Ashley is known for her independence and advanced beliefs she portrays in the story. I feel that the reason that she is so independent, spontaneous, and doesn’t want to settle down is because of her marriage to Lord Ashley. While being married to him she was Lady Ashley was submissive and played the traditional woman’s role as a wife. When he died, she broke out of the submissive role and became very independent. Her independence is what triggers the other characters actions throughout the book. Lady Ashley’s independence is what makes the story. Lord Ashley’s death prompted her to being so independent. Without Lord Ashley’s role as a husband, there would be no charismatic, spontaneous Lady Ashley.
Comments from Instructor:
Now you've got the right character. But, you didn't include the page numbers from where the information about your character is located.
Posted by: Ryenn Micaletti at March 5, 2008 04:31 PM
Harvey Stone is a friend of Jake, who, to put it politely, is a drunk. The reader is introduced to Stone in Chapter 6, where he is found by Jake, drinking at the café Select. Stone is out of money and hasn’t eaten in days, so Jake gives him a hundred dollars to help him. While the two men are talking Robert Cohn comes in and Stone says, “Hello, Robert. I was just telling Jake here that you’re a moron.” Cohn and Stone have a little back-and-forth and it is clear that Cohn is not on Stone’s Christmas card list.
This is the only chapter in which Stone appears, but I think he is very symbolic and important. During this time period, Jake and his friends, including Harvey Stone, would have been apart of ‘The Lost Generation’. I think that Stone’s character is a symbol of that. He is all alone, unhappy and has nothing but booze in the country he is supposed to be enjoying. Even though he is in Paris to have a grand time, he is constantly drunk and not happy with his life. In a sense, even though Jake found him at the café Select, Harvey Stone was lost; and probably still is today.
Comments from Instructor:
Where are your page numbers? See Theresa's entry below for what I was looking for
Posted by: Melissa L. at March 5, 2008 04:41 PM
American Literature 1915-Present
March 5, 2008
Alcoholic Beverages Mentioned in “The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest Hemingway
Besides the mention of wine (24-25, 64, 66, 68, 91, 93-94, 100, 104, 109, 111, 116, 121, 126, 133, 240), beer (27-28, 45, 97, 203, 205-211, 225), champagne (36, 62-63, 65-66, 68) and liqueur (27), in general terms, “The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest Hemingway, mentions a slew of alcoholic beverages consumed throughout the story. Many of the characters enjoy an occasional brandy as well as fines (14, 82, 241) or fine a (28), which is a French liqueur like brandy. In addition to straight brandy (68, 80), the characters also drink brandy and soda (29, 40-41), amontillado brandy (186), and jerez (157). Cognac (29, 180, 191, 240) which is also a form of brandy, named after a town in France, is another beverage of choice throughout the novel. Another brandy based liqueur mentioned in the novel is fundador (182, 186, 194, 208, 232), which means “founder” in Spanish. It is called this because it is the first brand to be marketed as a “Brandy de Jerez” in 1874.
Red wine (83, 177) is specifically mentioned, as well as port (50) and porto (51) which is a sweet fortified wine from the Douro Valley in northern provinces of Portugal and is typically served as a dessert wine. Chablis (92-93) is wine named after a region in the wine district of Burgundy, France. The grapevines around the town of Chablis are almost all Chardonnay, making a dry white wine renowned for the purity of its aroma and taste. The characters drink vieux marc (237) which has an intense aroma of walnuts, vanilla and liquorice. In Spain the characters enjoy rioja alta (249, 250) and anis del mono (162). A high quality wine mentioned is chateau margaux (236), which is one of the most expensive wines in the world.
There are many beverages mentioned that are not particularly familiar ones, such as pernod (22-23, 79, 81). As described in the novel (23), pernod is a greenish imitation absinthe. When you add water it turns milky. It tastes like licorice and it has a good uplift, but it drops you just as far. Absinthe (170, 225-227) is a distilled, highly alcoholic drink which contains a wide array of botanical extracts. Another herb flavored liqueur in France which can be either yellow or green in color is known as izarra (236), which means “star.”
Other alcoholic beverages mentioned are aguardiente (112) which is made from sugar cane and distilled to a grade of alcohol between 50-80%, which is why it is also known as “firewater.” Jake enjoys a Jack Rose with George the barman (48) in Hotel Crillon. He also drinks a Jack Rose (79) later on in the novel. It is a classic cocktail which was popular in the 1920’s and 1930”s. It is a mixture of applejack, grenadine and lemon or lime juice. In Paris, Jake and Robert have an aperitif (21) in Café Napolitain. This is an alcoholic drink enjoyed as an appetizer before a large meal and is usually served with olives or crackers.
The characters are also known to drink martinis (247-249), sherry (157), whiskey and soda (19, 80, 232-233, 239) and a drink called hot rum punch (116). Hot rum punch is a mixture of lemon juice, rum, apple cider, sugar and spice, which is drank nice and hot.
There is almost always a drink is someone’s hand throughout this novel and many of the beverages have originated in France and Spain. Some of the drinks are common place and others are quite different; however, all of the drinks seem to be enjoyed by the characters throughout the novel, except maybe the izarra which Jake sends back to the waiter.
Comments from Instructor:
Good work-over and beyond what I expected!
Posted by: T Wineland at March 5, 2008 05:13 PM
*NOTE* The deadline for this assignment has now passed. Comments are no longer being accepted for this exercise/assignment.
Posted by: Lee Hobbs at March 5, 2008 11:30 PM
Vivian Lee Croft
Dr. Lee Hobbs
SEL267 American Literature 1915 to Present
30 April 2008
A Relative Experience:
Exploring Gender and Religious Injustices Within the Works of Ernest Hemingway’s
The Sun Also Rises and Langston Hughes’ “On the Road.”
Defined as being unfair in action or treatment, injustice encompasses every facet of a social, political, and economic structure. Injustices are not reserved as a form of treatment toward only the downtrodden and less fortunate; inequities based on gender and religion can be seen in every part of daily life. Injustice is in direct opposition with ethical and moral reasoning yet is still a composite characteristic of many. Inequities noted in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises may be compared with those seen in Langston Hughes’ “On the Road” to show that no matter the situation or location, individuals can be treated unfairly.
Main characters in Hemingway’s novel live complex lives that run the gamut from intense of emotion to weak of morals. Each character is guilty of treating another with a lack of respect, in one form or another. This is seen with the prejudices surrounding the single female character who travels amongst the many males. The gender bias noted throughout Hemingway’s text will be explored. Another form of mistreatment that will be investigated is that of religious intolerance.
A Jewish character in Hemingway’s text is also the subject of unjust treatment. Though these inequalities may not be especially apparent or extremely influential, they do constitute part of the core belief system of those who hold such bias-based viewpoints.
The two maladies of gender bias and religious bias are also probed in the short story by Langston Hughes. Hughes’ story is littered with inequalities, all focused on a single character. The strong male character, Sargeant, is blatantly mistreated throughout the story. His intense maleness overshadows his weak human nature, which leaves others afraid of his capabilities yet blind to his basic needs. Religion plays a powerful role as well; Christian practitioners fail to live up to their call of duty by leaving Sargeant stranded during his time of need. The inequitable decisions of those who encounter Sargeant throughout the story no doubt lead to and exacerbate his suffering.
The absence of justice lends itself toward oppression, which can be seen through the intentional persecution of an individual through a gender bias. A gender-oppressed individual can succumb to the societal pressures of the distress to play into the assigned role or to create one of her own. Hemingway’s feisty antagonist, Lady Brett Ashley is a female character who, even more by her own actions than those of her male cohorts, remains a second behind every man she conquers. While strong and powerful in demeanor and personality, Brett’s weakness for sexually enhanced relationships leaves her empty and continually searching for another exciting meeting. She intensely pursues and involves herself in aggressive male-pattern behavior, perhaps in order to lift herself above blatant gender bias. Most of the “traditional” women whom Brett encounters
do not stand out from others, do not partake in activities that are unladylike, and do not exhibit traits other than the most upright.
This leaves a divorced Brett in an awkward position. Her male cohorts treat her “one of the guys,” barely noticing her femininity and continuing to act in their normal manner of cavorting with women, treating them as objects. Brett is at once biased and ill-treated, sealing her fate as a woman.
Traditionally, it is a man who seeks a relationship based solely on sex. Brett’s power over men leads her to live in a sexually charged world in which the importance of a relationship with a man is based exclusively on a sexual connection. Her relations seem to last as long as she gets what she wants and until the excitement of the affair wears thin. Her use of this “power” to suit her every whim thus reverses the gender bias, suggesting that men are merely objects used to satisfy her own cravings. Though men willingly participate in her exploits, the fact that Brett is able to initiate, lead, and ultimately leave the relationships show that although she is a woman, her untraditional female brand of aggressiveness brings about a gender bias that is unexpected.
Brett’s gender bending role is new to many of the other characters. Her strength and determination allow her to live her life to the fullest. She refuses to let a man take advantage of her and in fact is usually the one to get whatever she wants. Brett is a dichotomic character who wants to have the upper hand while simultaneously receiving the sensitive reassurance desired by all women. The complicated nature of this example of gender bias exemplifies the skill with which Hemingway layers his characters, providing them with a multitude of personality traits.
Hughes’ hero, Sargeant, also experiences biased treatment based on his appearance. The large man faces oppression with every turn throughout this short story. Many in this small town had probably never encountered a stranger, much less, a stranger of his size, whom they witnessed walking aimlessly in the dark of a snowy night. His tall frame and muscular stature likely caused many of those he came up against to question his motives. Even as a mentally weak, physically tired, and hungry man, Sargeant must have still loomed over the townspeople with his wide shoulders, big hands, and intimidating body.
The first contact in his search for a place to spend the night turns Sargeant away at the door with barely a word of assistance. His considerable body remaining on the porch, he was uncertain of how he could find solace. Surely a woman in the same situation would be let into the stranger’s home and given a seat in front of the warm fire. Certainly a young lady in such a predicament, lost, cold, and hungry, on a winter’s night would find shelter inside the home of a kind helper.
Sargeant’s attempt at refuge inside a church was met with the hostility of gathering onlookers who could not understand the need of this man, struggling violently with all of his might to break down the locked doors. The church doors, sealed at their seams prove symbolic to his inability to break through the biases imposed upon him. Without being let in, Sargeant would remain an outcast, damned in his role of a man of a lesser standing. This needy man was met with harsh disapproval and instant condemnation based likely more on his intense size, demeanor, and intimidating presence, than other factors, including even his dark skin color. This gender bias causes a majority of those who come in contact with Sargeant to treat him as a
common criminal. Hughes’ superb ability to convey an emotional connectedness leaves readers sympathizing with a character in situations that they might otherwise condemn.
The religious notions seen in The Sun Also Rises brings to light the inability to escape this form of prejudice. Hemingway makes it clear right away that one of the main male characters in this novel is a Jewish male. The conveyance of such a cultural inheritance does not seem like one that is needed to complete the story yet it shows the sense of urgency in relaying such a fact. Ideally, Robert Cohn should not be treated any differently than his European-American friends although anti-Semitism is a common ideology, even of some of his cohorts. Mistreatment of Robert based on his Jewishness can be seen throughout the novel.
Comments demeaning Robert’s Jewishness in this text include sarcasm directed at his physical appearance, demeanor, and actions. Jake, along with other characters, continually comment on Robert’s appearance with gibes about his nose. He is routinely treated as an outsider and always looked down upon although there is regular mention of Robert’s superior nature and stubborn actions. As friends Bill and Jake discuss the impending visit of their friends, whom Robert believes are his friends as well, Robert interjects some kept information regarding their arrival. Much to their upset, Bill and Jake agree “...let him not get superior and Jewish” (Hemingway 96). All of these forms of ill-will discourage Robert, leaving him sad and lonely. Just when he thinks he has found a friend or lover, he is again reminded of his lessened status as a Jew. Even stereotypical Jewish identifiers including money, entitlement, and position are used as fodder in the fight against Robert Cohn. Though sharp insults and trite jabs may not
constitute as the typical radical view of anti-Semitism, these small notions certainly build upon a base of intolerance and injustice.
Rather than leave Sargeant despondent and questioning of religion, Hughes’ examples of religious intolerance encouraged Sargeant. His initial experience with a Reverend who turns him away from the warmth and safety of his parsonage leads him next to a church where he “finds” Jesus. His struggle to enter the locked doors of the church in search of comfort signify that it is not only inside a holy place that comfort dwells. In an attempt to gain entry, he pulls down the strong, stone pillars that hold the building upright. As the building tumbles down Sargeant looks up, his faith growing. The falling crucifix was not enough to deter Sargeant from his belief that Jesus would remain by his side. “He looked around, and there was Christ walking along beside him, the same Christ that had been on the cross on the church -- still stone with a rough stone surface, walking along beside him just like he was broken off the cross when the church fell down” (Hughes 208).
All Sargeant had to cling to at that moment was the stone pillar, just as most others in a despondent state have only their faith to hold. His adamant need to keep the pillar in his hand reflects the desire of a person desperate to keep a religion within his or her reach. He kept his faith in religion while those religious beings around him rejected him in his time of need and turned him away from the most sacred of holy places. This shows that even the Christian
religion itself faces an injustice as its members deny Sargeant, refusing to help him as he stood cold, hungry, and tired in the middle of a snow-covered, nighttime street.
Sargeant exhibited no forms of intolerance and instead, provided a great example of how a religious intolerance is often formulated from another type of intolerant view. While his actions could be constituted as extreme, the fact that he was unable to receive help was the most extreme example of intolerance discussed. His resolve did not falter, which will certainly lead him toward success.
Notions of injustice are found in virtually every aspect of societal relations, religious and secular, among friends and strangers, and involving both men and women. Everyone is susceptible to being unjust as everyone is prone to being discriminated against. There is no safety net when it comes to injustice; characters are best suited to react in a manner that can improve the situation by their own means. Unjust treatments are necessary in order for a world to prosper, as the resulting change will likely prove the catalyst. Without an injustice against which to fight, what plights would be eradicated and what hardships would be lessened? Answers may only be found once an injustice has been enacted.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1926.
Hughes, Langston. “On The Road.” Something in Common and Other Stories. New York: Hill, 1963. 207-12.
The final draft of my term paper has been submitted under Ernest Hemingway as Papa authored The Sun Also Rises, one of the texts I discussed in my term paper.
Posted by: Vivian Lee C. at May 1, 2008 08:01 AM
April 23, 2008
“I Can Do Anything You Can Do Better”: Examining Gender Inequality in “A Jury of Her Peers” and The Sun Also Rises
It has become quite clear to me throughout my study of literature that authors write about events and situations occurring in the time period in which they are writing or in which their writing takes place. In both Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers,” and Earnest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, this is inherently evident through the realistic portrayals of the main characters and their experiences. Gender inequality plays a large role in both of these works in some form or another, reflecting the surrounding historical and societal events of the time periods they are set in. Although the two works are similar in that they both contain gender inequalities, they differ in the genders that are portrayed as or referred to as unequal. Through the character’s actions and dialogue, it is quite clear that women in “A Jury of Her Peers,” and men in The Sun Also Rises, are indeed unequal to the opposite gender within the individual stories, and are somehow inferior.
The men in “A Jury of Her Peers” constantly degrade the women’s livelihood and intelligence. From the first paragraph of “A Jury of Her Peers,” it is very obvious that for the women in the story, housekeeping duties and home-life are their primary concerns. Mrs. Hale, for example, is constantly worrying about leaving her kitchen work “half done,” and the importance becomes much clearer as the story progresses with the kitchen as the primary setting. The men’s degrading comments also become more prevalent as the story goes on. Both the sheriff and the county attorney make numerous remarks about the “insignificance of kitchen things,” and the attorney even goes as far as insulting Mrs. Wright’s housekeeping abilities: “Dirty towels! Not much of a housekeeper, would you say ladies?” (Glaspell 6). It never once crosses his mind that the dirty towels may be a result of the man he sent earlier to build the fire; when Mrs. Hale tries to stand up to him, he shuts her down quickly remarking and laughing, ”Ah, loyal to your sex, I see” (Glaspell 6). He does not value her personal opinion at all or see her as an individual, instead, he sees her as a generic figure representing a gender.
Other evidence of women’s inferiority in “A Jury of Her Peers” is the fact that the women do not have their own identities. For the majority of the story, the women are referred to as “Mrs. [husband’s last name]” indicating that they are no one without their husbands. The fact that they only refer to their own husbands as “Mr.…” suggests a sense formality and distance between the husbands and wives, emphasizing their inequality and inferiority. Similarly, Mrs. Hale informs the audience that Minnie Foster was a totally different person before she married John Wright: “She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively—when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls, singing in the choir” (Glaspell 9). She had her own identity until she married John, becoming nothing more than Mrs. Wright.
The women’s inferiority to their husbands is apparent through their husbands’ treating them as property. They order the women around as though they are dogs. “‘Martha!’ now came her husband’s impatient voice. ‘Don’t keep folks waiting out here in the cold’” (Glaspell 1). Likewise, John Wright kept Minnie secluded and refused to allow her any contact with the outside world through a telephone; he stopped her from singing and provided her with no suitable clothing. It is assumed that Minnie enjoyed her bird because it was the only source of company she had. “‘No, Wright wouldn’t like the bird,’ she said after that—“a thing that sang. She used to sing. He killed that too” (Glaspell 16). He not only killed the bird, but he also killed Minnie Foster—the person she used to be, in turn for making her who he wanted her to be.
Perhaps the most convincing evidence of the inequality of women to men is the fact that every single instance in which the men and women are together in a scene, the men are making fun of the women. The men are sure to never let the women forget that they are not equals. In what is possibly one of the most famous lines from the story, Mr. Hale shows his superiority to the women: “‘Oh well,’ said Mrs. Hale’s husband, with good-natured superiority, ‘women are used to worrying over trifles’” (Glaspell 6). He again degrades their livelihood and undermines their intelligence by implying that anything they are concerned about is insignificant. Similarly, Mr. Hale undermines the women’s intelligence by commenting, “But would the women know a clue if they did come upon it?” (Glaspell 7). Ironically, it is the women who find the only clue that would provide the desperately needed motive for John Wright’s murder.
Although the women in “A Jury of Her Peers” are unequal to the men, it is the men in The Sun Also Rises who are the unequal sex. The only instance in which a man is superior to the novel’s main female character, Brett, is in the description of her husband and his poor treatment of her; as a result of his unequal treatment, Bret strives to never again allow a man that superiority. Through an odd role reversal, Brett takes on many “masculine” qualities, and eventually turns to treating men as unequals. She is totally in control of all of the men in her life at every point in the novel, and she uses them accordingly.
Brett is the only female character that the readers get to know in depth; therefore, she is the primary representation of the female gender. She has absolutely no regards for the basic humanity of the men who surround her. She goes from man to man, using them for whatever material or sexual need she has at that moment. “‘Yes, I’ll send him away…You stay here. He’s mad about me, I tell you…sent him for champagne’” (Hemingway 61-62). In the same way, she cheats on her men in front of each other, and causes problems between friends. The drama between the friends slowly progresses to escalation in the last few chapters of the book. For example, in Chapter XVI, this tension finally erupts: “‘Do you think you amount to something, Cohn? Do you think you belong here among us?...Do you think Brett wants you here?...Why don’t you see when you’re not wanted, Cohn? Go away. Go away, for God’s sake…’” (Hemingway 181). Similarly, she causes a fistfight between Cohn and Jake, who called themselves best friends and had no friendship problems before Brett got involved; yet she has no concern whatsoever for the problems she is causing.
Brett does whatever she wants. She never has to concern herself with justifying her actions or proving herself. When Romero questions her “femininity,” and asks her to grow her hair to become more “womanly,” she sends him away replying, “‘I won’t be one of those bitches’” (Hemingway 247). She simply refuses to change herself for a man, regardless of how she feels about him. The men, on the other hand, are constantly concerned with proving their masculinity. This is apparent through Jake’s obvious discomfort and response when Brett comes into the bar with a group of homosexuals. “Somehow they always made me angry. I know they are supposed to be amusing, and you should be tolerant, but I wanted to swing on one, any one, anything to shatter that superior, simpering composure” (Hemingway 28). Jake, particularly because of his impotence, continuously tries to make himself and everyone around him, aware of his masculinity to avoid being grouped in with homosexuals and their feminine qualities. Brett simply does not have to worry about defending her femininity, and she uses her sexuality freely as she pleases, proving that she is the superior gender in this novel.
Jakes inequality to Brett is exceedingly evident in their relationship. She manipulates him and degrades him time and time again. She keeps him close enough and claims that she loves him, yet refuses to be with him because of his impotence; sex is more important than her love for Jake, and she does not hesitate to let him know. For example, when Jake asks, “‘Couldn’t we live together, Brett? Couldn’t we just live together?’” Brett replies, “‘I don’t think so. I’d just tromper you with everybody. You couldn’t stand it’” (Hemingway 62). She does not hesitate or think about Jake’s emotions or needs; rather, she freely asserts her superiority over him by refusing his offer of love, choosing a life of promiscuity and sexual freedom instead—a freedom that no man in the novel possesses.
In both “A Jury of Her Peers” and The Sun Also Rises, gender inequality is not only blatantly apparent, but it also plays a large role in the relationships formed between characters. Through depicting gender inequalities in their works, Glaspell and Hemingway reflect the societal issues related to gender during the time periods in which their works are written and set; as a result, a sense of reality is created for readers making the characters appear as humanlike and relatable as possible, and allowing readers to analyze and compare the characters’ histories to the traits they exemplify. This reality, in addition to the authors’ talent and keen insight into human nature, greatly contributes to the timelessness which eludes these works and allows us to study and understand them all these years after the original publication.
Glaspell, Susan. “A Jury of Her Peers.” 1929. A Jury of Her Peers (Short Stories).
Hadley, MA: Creative Education, 1992.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1954.
I submitted my paper to this particular blog because it is one of the primary texts that I analyzed for my final paper.I examined the gender inequality apparent throughout the novel, arguing that the men are the inferior gender. I use Brett's treatment of them, and her demeanor in general compared to the men's, as evidence to support my claim.
Posted by: Chera P at May 1, 2008 11:27 AM
Dr. Lee Hobbs
SEL 267 American Literature 1915 – Present
30 April, 2008
Comparing the Main Female Characters in The Sun Also Rises and Fences and Their Roles as Feminists
Feminism is a concept that perplexes and in some cases intimidates a lot of people, when sadly enough they do not understand the true definition. Feminism isn’t a theory or concept of hatred towards men and men can be feminists and not lose their masculinity. The definition of feminism is, “A belief in social, political, and economical equality,”(American Heritage Dictionary, par 1). So unless you believe that people of different race, different gender, different religious background, and different sexualities are not equal you are indeed a feminist by definition. In Earnest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and August Wilson’s Fences there is only one main female character, Brett and Rose, surrounded by male characters, which leads to these women maintaining their character and position. Both Brett and Rose, though total opposite in character, play very strong roles and exhibit feminist traits through their beliefs, how they live their lives, the period of time they lived in, and the choices they make.
Both women seem to rise above their time and shine as strong independent women and perhaps the choices they make lead them to take on independency. Brett lives in Paris, France after WWI and leads a life that is quite different than most women during that time period. Brett comes and goes as she pleases, drinks heavily, and courts men. Brett jumps from man to man throughout the book; she starts off being engaged to Michael, and then seeks Jacob and while she is seeking Jacob she is running around with Count Mippipoplous, and then has an affair with Robert Cohn which leads up to her rendezvous with Pedro Romero and finally ends up engaged to Michael, again. Brett, within the short amount of time this book takes place, goes through five men. Brett lives life drinking and traveling and also has a career as a nurse for the army.
When the reader is first introduced to Brett, she enters the bar were Jacob is with a crowd of men, homosexual men. Also for Brett’s time she was liberated in dress; “pulled her man’s felt hat down” (Hemingway 35) and “her hair was brushed back like a boy’s” (Hemingway 30). Brett is described several times dressing with men’s clothing and pulling her hair back like a man. The connection between dressing slightly like a man and still “looking lovely” (Hemingway 28) proves Brett’s rebellion of long flowing hair and long ladylike dresses which any artwork done of women in the 1920’s showed flowing long hair and ladylike dresses. Therefore from history and artwork we can deduct that Brett’s dress and attitude towards life was not suppressed or constrained at all…Brett held the upper hand in her life. Brett also states “we have our careers” (Hemingway 68). Brett is a career woman and not a homemaker which is very apparent throughout the entire book. Brett almost takes on the role of a man by courting different men and teasing the men she is around. All of the men in the book at some point are infatuated with Brett. Brett has become an equal in a world when women were not considered equals. Brett pokes fun at the men surrounding her, “you’ve a hell of a biblical name Jake” (Hemingway 30). Brett is on the same level as these men that she can poke fun and tease the way she does and she is always included in the outings.
Brett is a woman that has a presence of independence. Towards the end of the novel when she meets and falls for Pedro Romero we truly see Brett’s independence. Because she is not a lady or does not follow feminine ways she has to let Pedro go for she fears she will ruin his career. Brett is aware of the difference in herself and other women during her time and Brett knows where her place is. Brett expresses to Jake “He was born in 1905. I was in school in Paris, then. Think of that.” (Hemingway 248). Brett goes on to tell Jake that “he’d only been with two women before. He never cared about anything but bull-fighting” (Hemingway 248). Brett’s place is with the men who have embraced her liberation and treat her as an equal. Also Brett leaving Pedro is self awareness, “You know it makes one feel rather good deciding not to be a bitch,” of her inability to be suppressed by someone (Hemingway 249).
Brett is faced with challenges that she overcomes and throughout the course of the novel becomes more aware of herself and what her needs are. Brett’s choices made proves her independency and stance on equality and she was never forced into her decisions she made them willingly on her own. Brett surrounds herself with men and fits in as an equal and for the 1920’s was an accomplishment. Brett lives her life the way she chooses and when something is standing in her way she illuminates them from her life like Robert Cohn. Robert was causing her grief and Brett made Robert very aware that he was not welcome. Although the reader might not like Brett or agree with her decisions you can not deny that she stands for independence and equality.
In comparison to Brett, Rose does take on the mother, housewife role that was very typical for women during the 1950-60’s. However, Rose is a special breed of woman who indicated throughout the entire play her strength and refusal to be less than any man. In an age where June Clever was the role model for women to follow, Rose marched to the beat of her own drum. The interesting factor about Rose opposed to Brett is that she is fighting two potential judgments, she is a woman and she is black. During the 1950-60’s blacks were not suppressed like they were in the previous decades, but there was still segregation and Rose, unlike her husband, didn’t let it effect her. Rose tried to make Troy see that racism wasn’t a factor for his inability to play baseball. “How you gonna play ball when you were over fourty?” she asks him (Wilson 43). She continues to tell Troy that “Times have changes from when you was young. Troy, people change. The world’s changing around you and you can’t even see it” (Wilson 40).
This battle that Rose takes on with Troy preludes the argument of their son Cory playing football which is yet another example of Rose’s strength as a woman and the battles she chooses to have with Troy. The epitome of the entire story is that Rose is outsmarting her husband and is aware of what is going on. Rose isn’t the mousy woman that never speaks against her husband, Rose tells Troy what she thinks and also when she believes Troy is out of line. Rose fights for Cory’s right to play football, “why don’t you let that boy go ahead and play football Troy? Ain’t no harm in that” (Wilson 39). Rose defends herself and Cory and the reason this argument comes to a halt is the underlying events that are surfacing.
Rose is aware of Troy’s unfaithfulness, in act one Troy leaves to go “listen to the ball game” (Wilson 28) and when he returns home he tries to kiss Rose and Rose stops him. “I thought you went down Taylors’ to listen to the game. Go on, Troy! You supposed to be putting up this fence” (Wilson 30). Troy attempts to kiss Rose again and Rose responds, “Go on, Troy. I ain’t studying you” (Wilson 30). Rose’s insistence on Troy not kissing her and not submitting herself to being a sloppy second proves her strength as a woman, she demands respect. Another instance when Rose demands respect from Troy is when he was out on the porch yelling for Rose and she replies, “Hush all that hollering, man! I know you out here.” “Man, hush your mouth I ain’t no dog…talk about come when you call me” (Wilson 43). Troy doesn’t react which his guilt at this point could be getting the best of him. However, the way Wilson sets Rose’s character up from the beginning the audience gets a sense of command and strength from Rose right up to the end of the play when she takes Raynell to raise as her own. After everything Rose goes through, watching her son be put down by Troy, finding out her husband has been having and affair, and then discovering Troy’s lover was pregnant and raising the child after the mother dies. Rose treated everyone equally and tried to encourage Troy to do the same. Rose also encouraged Troy to look at things differently. Rose, especially for her time, would be considered a feminist.
Feminists don’t have to take to picket lines to claim their beliefs. Women and men just have to live the lifestyle; equality and holding themselves up to maintain equality which, Brett and Rose fulfill. For the times these women had so much strength they eventually disrupted the men’s lives that surrounded them. Rose’s husband cheated on her and his claim was that Rose wouldn’t let him be himself. Rose just simply demanded respect and he hold up his responsibilities. Whereas Brett crumbles the men she is around, Robert Cohn and Michael end up fighting over her and Brett is disgusted by both of them. Also in the beginning on the book Brett has that affect on Jacob but Jacob sees her for what she is and in Fences Bono sees Rose for whom she is.
Through the experiences these woman, we as readers share their struggle to be independent woman. Both Brett and Rose live in a time where women were not on the same pedestal as men and women either took their duties or stood up for themselves and lived their lives, which Brett and Rose did. Hemingway and Wilson, both male writers, had very strong women characters in both of their stories. Both Brett and Rose demonstrate a feminist role in two completely different settings and lifestyles. Therefore, feminists can be anywhere it is how they present themselves.
Hemingway, Earnest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1926.
Wilson, August. Fences. New York: Penguin Group, 1985.
American Heritage Dictionary. “Feminism.” 2003. Houghton Mifflin Company. 29 April, 2008
---- My Final Research paper is posted under Hemingway because I wrote about Brett and her feministic traits in The Sun Also Rises.
Posted by: Erin W. at May 1, 2008 03:48 PM
Dr. Lee Hobbs
30 April 2008
Living in mental anguish;
How Hemmingway and Glaspell’s characters mimic real life.
Throughout history, psychology has been an issue that has caused commotion. From the disbelief of its existence in the dark ages, to the execution of those who believed in it during the Reformation, mental health has been argued over for centuries. In modern times, not only is psychology recognized, it is also studied, dissected, taught, and documented. But perhaps more interesting than the study of psychology itself, is the study of abnormal psychology. Authors of literature from the nineteenth century recognized that abnormal was exciting and realized that creating “perfect” characters would not appease readers. A good author knows that two dimensional characters are boring, so painstaking care is given to be sure that the most important characters, or at least the protagonist and antagonist of a story are three dimensional. This is often achieved through the use of psychology, by instilling vices and psychological troubles in the books characters. These “defects” are usually a main contributor to the story line, and the psychological issues themselves are often of dire importance to the story. In both Earnest Hemmingway’s novel, The Sun Also Rises and Susan Glaspell’s short story “A Jury of Her Peers” are classic examples that exhibit three dimensional characters that readers connect with by giving them their own “crosses to bear.” Although The Sun Also Rises and “A Jury of Her Peers” were written at different historical places in time, both stories show the harmful effects caused by many psychological and mental defects that humans experience, especially depression and post traumatic stress disorder.
It has been said that Earnest Hemmingway himself was an alcoholic with severe mental disorders. While Hemmingway was serving in WWI he was hit with machine gun fire and was injured by shrapnel which was embedded in his leg (Wilson, 2007). This wartime experience seems to set the stage for the novel The Sun Also Rises which takes place shortly after WWI in Europe. Although the war has ended, many of the main characters in the novel were involved in the war, either as a soldier like Jake Barnes, or Lady Brett Butler who acted as a nurse to the wounded. This parallel Hemmingway has made to his own life and experience lends itself to suggesting perhaps the antagonist in the book, Jake Barnes is a reflection of the author himself, both physically and mentally. Jake, like Hemmingway, is a war veteran who seems to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to The American Psychiatric Organization, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often occurs after a person has “experienced, witnessed, or has been confronted with an event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury. This person’s response may have involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror (www.psych.org).” Undoubtedly, as Hemmingway would have, both Jake Barnes and Lady Brett would have experienced similar life altering situations in the war.
Towards the beginning of the novel, on page 26, we find that Jake is impotent. Although it is not clear if Jake was rendered this way due to a physical injury, or due to witnessing a catastrophic psychological event, what is clear is that Jake is not able to perform sexually. This is the leading reason why Lady Brett will not enter into a relationship with Jake. Even though PTSD is not mentioned in the novel (and may not have technically been discovered at this time in history), it is clear to the reader that Jake is suffering mentally due to the war. The American Psychiatric Organization lists symptoms of PTSD as difficulty in falling asleep, irritability and outbursts of anger, and difficulty concentrating (www.psych.org). Jake displays symptoms of this on pages 31-35, when he describes to the reader that he has difficulty sleeping and cries at night. Like Jake, Lady Brett displays similar symptoms throughout the novel.
Although though Lady Brett is not suffering from impotence, she is showing classic symptoms of PTSD. It seems as though Brett never sleeps, and is up partying constantly. In reverse of Jake’s problem with not being able to have sex, the act of sex itself has become so important to Brett that it seems to run her life. She is constantly out sleeping with different men, at least three of which are mentioned in the novel, Mike, Robert, and Romero. Although she is engaged to Mike, Brett prefers Romero’s exciting way of life, to the mundane with Mike, and ends the engagement. Lady’s Brett character has a physical need so strong that she will not consider a relationship with Jake, whom she loves, because he can not satisfy her sexual needs. Brett lives a very care free existence with no responsibilities, job, or worries to speak of. This partying environment works in conjunction with another disorder that is prevalent in those who suffer from PTSD, alcoholism.
Alcohol abuse is a disorder that is exhibited by many characters in Hemmingway’s novel. Alcoholism is a theme that is prevalent throughout the entire book. It is mentioned in every chapter, and every event that takes place during the novel involves alcohol. All of the major characters partake in consuming mass quantities of alcohol frequently throughout the story. The American Psychiatric Organization notes that alcohol abuse or alcoholism is not only a disease in itself, but is also a contributing factor that makes other psychological diseases more difficult to deal with (www.psych.org). The symptoms of alcoholism, according to the APO, include heavy drinking, agitation, insomnia, and anxiety. These symptoms also contribute to the meanness and violence that often take place with excessive drinking (www.psych.org). Both in everyday life, and in “The Sun Also Rises” alcohol is used an escape to avoid personal problems. In the book, Jake is drinking because he is running from his impotence problem, which is ultimately the reason he can’t be with the woman he loves, Brett. Brett is drinking because she can’t get past her sexual issues to be with Jake, because he can’t consummate a relationship. The other characters in the story, such as Robert Cohn, and Brett’s fiancé Mike, also have a link to alcoholism. Cohn drinks every time something does not go the way he hopes that it will. His state of intoxication leads him to physical confrontations with numerous characters including Jake, Mike, and Romero. This reinforces the idea that alcoholism can cause a person to become mean and violent. The character of Mike also idealizes this when he becomes drunk and confrontational after the bull fights. Alcoholism and post traumatic stress disorder are both an underlying cause of one of the most common, yet serious illnesses in the United States today, depression (American Psychiatric Organization).
According to American Psychiatric Organization, classic signs of depression are a loss of interest in normal activities, crying spells, and trouble focusing and concentrating (www.psych.org). All of these are exhibited by Jake throughout The Sun Also Rises”. Although Jake has a job at the newspaper, he can not seem to keep his concentration on his work, and often leaves work to frequent bars mid-day. As shown previously, Jake frequently cries at night over the loss of his manhood and of Brett. Jake also does not seem to be interested in mundane tasks any longer. Work bores him, writing has become a hassle to him, and all he wants to do is drink and travel around Europe.
Lady Brett also exhibits signs of depression, but in a different form. It appears, according to the American Psychiatric Organization that Brett is suffering from a manic bi-polar disorder. She is showing all of the signs, such as, an inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, distractibility, and reckless involvement in pleasurable activity (www.psych.org). Lady Brett knows that when she walks into a room, she is the center of attention. This is told to the reader by Hemmingway on page 22. She uses her attractiveness to her advantage by partaking in sexual encounters with men that she does not know and being out for days at a time without sleeping.
Earnest Hemmingway makes it easy for the reader to recognize the psychological issues that are going on in his book. However, not all authors make the symptoms so glaringly obvious. The character in Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers”, Minnie Foster is never even directly met by the reader. Glaspell introduces Minnie, who is being accused of killing her husband, through the conversations of her neighbors Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters. The women are in the downstairs of Minnie’s house discussing the situation while the men are upstairs investigating the crime scene. Although the reader never meets Minnie “face to face” it is easy to draw conclusions with the help of the author’s descriptions to the type of life she was forced to lead with her husband, which included depression, and most likely Battered Women’s Syndrome.
As stated earlier, one of the classic symptoms of depression is a loss of interest in daily activities (American Psychiatric Organization). Minnie, being a famer’s housewife, had many daily duties such as housework, canning fruits, and mending or sewing. Throughout the story it is shown that Minnie has neglected this work. The kitchen is in disarray when the authorities and the women arrive. Women, the men say, are consumed by their housework, and “trifles,” but Minnie has left the kitchen a mess. Her canning was not tended to properly, causing the jars to all break. When the Mrs. Hale finds the sewing Minnie has been working on, the stitching is zigzagged and uneven. All of these are signs that Minnie was neglecting tasks that would have been simple for her to perform.
A contributor to Minnie’s depression was most likely Battered Women’s Syndrome. According to abuse.com, battered women’s syndrome isn’t just about battery; it is about power and control (National Women’s Health Information Center.) Some men have an issue with needing power, and gain such power by controlling their wives. This is shown to be happening in the story “A Jury of Her Peers” in many ways. First, the women mention that they have not seen Minnie outside the house in years. This exhibits the first sign of Battered Women’s Syndrome, isolation. Mr. Hale mentions near the beginning of the story that he wanted the Foster’s to purchase a telephone but Mr. Foster said “no”. With holding money from Mrs. Foster and keeping her disconnected from the outside world shows the second sign of abuse, economic abuse. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters talk about the way that Minnie used to be, before she was married. She is described as being vibrant, full of life, and a beautiful singer. Mrs. Hale states that she hasn’t heard Minnie sing in years. When people give up doing things that they love, and become withdrawn, this is a sign of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is also one of the ways that a man intimidates a woman who is being battered by him. Finally, the last sign of battered women’s syndrome is intimidation. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters discover a broken bird cage in the kitchen. They surmise that the bird belonged to Minnie and her husband broke the door because its singing annoyed him. A few lines later, Mrs. Hale finds the dead bird, its neck broken, in a sewing box of Minnie’s. Mr. Foster breaking the neck of the only real friend Minnie had shows that he intimidated Minnie into doing what he asked of her, and set an example of what could happen to her.
Authors often use psychological defects in characters to make them more appealing to the readers, and to give the reader a way to connect with the character. This is exhibited by many characters in Ernest Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises and in Susan Glaspell’s short story, “A Jury of Her Peers.” However, what would happen if these writers had left out the psychological backgrounds of the characters? Would Jake be considered “weird” or “odd” because he was impotent? Would the reader think differently of Minnie if the author did not foreshadow the fact that she was being abused? Would she have just been seen as a cold blooded killer? As in real life today, the psychological factors of people are sometimes just as important as the lives they lead.
American Psychiatric Association. 18 April 2008.
Glaspell, Susan. “A Jury of Her Peers.” 1929. A Jury of Her Peers (Short Stories).
Hadley, MA: Creative Education, 1992.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Charles Scribener’s Sons, 1926.
National Women’s Health Information Center. March 2003. 10 April 2008.
Wilson, M. The Hemingway Resource Center. 30 November 2007. 15 April 2008.
I submitted my final paper under Ernest Hemingway's' "The Sun Also Rises" because the story was critical in proving my papers theory that authors reflect mental illness and anguish from real life in their literature. The characters of Lady and Brett and Jake proove my thesis that post traumatic stress syndrome is a life changing illness that is reflected in lterature as a way to allow the reader to connect with the characters.
Posted by: Jodi S at May 1, 2008 09:51 PM
23 April 2013
An Analysis of _A Farewell to Arms_ and _The Stranger_ through Deconstructionist Criticism
_A Farewell to Arms_ by Ernest Hemingway is a story that represents two types of literary thought. The story is seen as an early example of modernism; it also seen through the lens of the deconstruction. Deconstructionist criticism teaches that the "text" is not always truth, and that different structures like truth, are fallible constructs of man. By approaching Hemingway's text, from this perspective, we can see how the truths of love and war fail to represent any meaning. Albert Camus, The Stranger, a popular novella written in 1943, it is one of the prominent symbols of absurdism in literature. This text will be used as a secondary source in order better discuss the deconstruction of truth within A Farewell to Arms. Both these works and there authors, are infamous for representing a period corrupted by violence, poverty, and war. The stories represent the feeling of ambiguity and hopelessness in a world that was seemingly lost. Hemingway and Camus created pessimism in their work that reflected the time period they lived in. Since both authors were heavily involved with political affairs, their lives were an enduring legacy in popular culture. A Farewell to Arms when first published in 1929 solidified Hemingway's claim to literary immortality. Already famous for his earlier work, The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway (only the age of twenty-nine) second effort became one of the more prominent novels of a "lost" generation. Albert Camus also would later become a literary force in the 1940's. His novels centered on characters who lacked emotional depth and his plots were often narcissistic and meaningless. The Stranger is Camus first novel, and one of his most intriguing. The story is about a protagonist with no feeling or emotion. He is neither evil nor good; he represents the philosophy of absurdism. A Farewell to Arms and The Stranger are two works that represent the ideals of deconstructionism. These authors also rely on the underlying meaning of text to produce emotion and insight. A Farewell to Arms and The Stranger are both great examples of this form. Jacques Derrida's quote below is the definition of how underlying meaning can be derived both of these works. “What cannot be said above all must not be silenced but written” (Derrida).
A Farewell to Arms is a classic of American literature. It is one of the most important pieces that discuss the depravity of World War I. The novels primary themes are love and war. Each represents truths that can be deconstructed. The novel is about an American expatriate named Fredric Henry. He joins the Italian army in World War I despite his cultural differences. As an ambulance driver for the army he has become disenchanted with war. The sadness and violence that surrounds the battlefront have destroyed Fredric both emotionally and mentally. The consequences of these feelings often deprive Fredric of enjoying a normal life. Instead he gets drunk often and has affairs with many women. Although Fredric has the persona of a "tough-guy," in actuality Fredric has trouble dealing with his feelings of isolation and insecurity. Hemingway depicts Fredric as a simple man who enjoys simple pleasures. His desire for wine and salacious nights on the town have a created a lost sense of moral ethics within him. Hemingway makes it a point to depict Fredric as a man who has a lost sense of morality. Like Camus’, The Stranger, Hemingway writes in a terse simple style. He limits his words and detail in order to convey underlying emotion in the work. The Ice-Berg theory is a theory created by Hemingway to understand the philosophy behind the style. Hemingway describes a good work of fiction as an iceberg that only shows the surface of its proper purpose. It is not until careful re-readings that one will see the deeper meaning underneath the surface of a text. In A Farewell to Arms this theme is highly prevalent. There are many examples, where it is apparent that Hemingway left certain parts of the novel ambiguous. Because of this, acquiring truth from the work is complex and subjective. This relates to one of the principles of deconstructionist theory. Truth is a construct built from a human structure; how we define truth is through language that is often flawed and vague. Hemingway is purposely using vague language to show us how the search for the truth is senseless and absurd. In this quote from the novel he discusses how men who live in chaos have nothing lose compared to others who fight the futility. “But life isn't hard to manage when you've nothing to lose” (Hemingway 138). In the novel, Frederic falls in love with a British nurse, Catherine Barkley. Here is another example of absurdism in the piece. Catherine and Frederic are separated from their homes for miles. Both serve on a foreign front, and Fredric is an American who assumes the identity of another culture. There is no objective truth to truly define these individuals. Instead they are a simply two people caught in the hopelessness of war. As they fall in love, Frederic is nearly killed in a bombing. Because of this, he experiences a brief freedom from the hell that is the Italian battlefront. Although at first Fredric joined the Italian Army to acquire glory, he comes to the consensus that the truth of war is chaos. The officers from the front are inflicted by the death and violence happening around them. Most of them use prostitution and drinking to sedate their emotions. Because of this many have lost their morale and others cannot carry living anymore. There are many examples in the novel of how the chaos of war has caused people to lose their sense of humanity and there value of truth. Earlier in the novel Frederic treats a man who is willing to give himself a concussion and prolong his painful hernia to avoid the battlefront. Before the bombing that injures Frederic, he and his fellow ambulance driver are discussing the injustices of the war. Passini and another driver are arguing with Frederic over whether the Italian army should give into Austrians and surrender.
“It could be worse,' Passini said respectfully." There is nothing worse than war."
“Defeat is worse."
“I do not believe it," Passini said still respectfully. "What is defeat? You go home”
They begin to agree that they would rather see their country surrender then to spend another night on the front fighting the war, no matter what the consequences. After the bombing, Frederic is awarded the Medal of Honor for no apparent reason. The only thing he did was bring macaroni and cheese to the hungry drivers sitting in the dugout. He did nothing be become injured. This is again another example of how the war and the countries pursuit of achieving victory have no real morale truth. The war does not create bravery or glory; instead it creates evil and chaos. The end of the novel is one of the most controversial of all literature. The symbolism surrounding the death of Catherine Barkley in child birth and what is left of Frederic Henry afterwards is left up to speculation. Love in the story is the only way Frederic comes close to absolution and truth in his life. “When I saw her I was in love with her. Everything turned over inside of me. She looked toward the door, saw there was no one, then she sat on the side of the bed and leaned over and kissed me” (Hemingway 91). Before he meets Catherine he is a drunkard who gives in to the pleasures of a sinful existence. After they fall in love he transforms. This transformation begins as a romance and slowly evolves into feelings intense passion. Emotions for Frederic are very hard for him express, but his feelings for Catherine are intense and beautiful. Her death shows how although love can form a sense of truth, but in a world where there is no sense of meaning, love is lost.
Albert Camus, The Stranger, is a story about a man named Meursault who lacks feeling and emotion. In order to properly show how The Stranger and A Farewell to Arms both exude the philosophy of absurdism, there must be an in depth analysis of how Meursault and Frederic compare. Both are reflections of each other. Meursault is a protagonist who is not very interesting, like Frederic Henry he can be seen as boring and almost ineffectual. Although both characters enjoy the pleasures of life, they have trouble relaying their emotions to others. Meursault like Frederic also kills for insubordination. Meursault kills a man he doesn't even know because he "rebelled" against the domestic abuse caused by his friend Raymond. Frederic in turn, kills a "strange" man because he deserted the Italian army. Both of these protagonists show little emotion after they kill, in a sense both they are hardened by their unemotional nature. As you can see, both of these novels are similar, in that they value chaos over reason. Frederic's life is destroyed by the chaos of life, and Meursault seeks destruction through chaos of violence. In A Farewell to Arms, the idea that life is a chaotic entity, uncaring of humanities struggle is personified in this quote: “The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kill. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially” (Hemingway 293). Camus' obsession with the absurd does not just focus on truth. Like Hemingway, Camus also sees the notion of "god" and religion as ridiculous. In a world built on chaos, there can be no room for a creator or divine structure. Instead both of these authors saw life as a force that cared little for humanity or any reason. This created a pessimism that permeated in both A Farewell to Arms and The Stranger. The Stranger's ending deals with the Meursault's trial and conviction. In a sense it is Meursault's trial and conviction of God. When he is sentenced to execution, he visits a priest who does anything in his power to convert him. Meursault refuses to believe in the notion of God and religion because he believes that people live a meaningless existence. Going so far as to say: “I had only a little time left and I didn't want to waste it on God” (Camus 73).The same theme can be seen A Farewell to Arms, where a priest is accosted by fellow soldiers for his religious views. Like Meursault, Frederic seeks spiritual fulfillment through the priest, yet he finds nothing more than absurdity. In the novel he states: “All thinking men are atheists” (Hemingway 8).
In both A Farewell to Arms and The Stranger there is a lack of morale and spiritual truth. Each work personified how people seek truth in their daily lives only to find despair and isolation. Albert Camus was described as the premier existentialist during his time period. Hemingway also exhibits the same sort of "existential loneliness" in his modernist works. Existential loneliness is defined by that idea that humans are by nature born into loneliness. In both novels the feelings of this isolation are portrayed through the protagonists. Existentialist thought holds the belief that humanity faces the question through life and into death. Camus and Hemingway believed that meaning of life was facing this truth. In exploring these authors we have found that they both embrace the ideal of deconstructionist criticism. The use of language and themes in both of these works show how the truth is a construct created by man. Because truth is a fallible construct it is meaningless to search for its meaning in daily life. Hemingway and Camus captured the essence of this idea through fiction.
Camus, Albert, and Matthew Ward. The Stranger. New York: Vintage International, 1989. Print.
Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner Classics, 1997. Print.
Posted by: Joseph Schwartz at May 6, 2008 10:54 AM
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