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Research Papers on the Characters in The Sun Also Rises

How do you start a The Sun Also Rises Characters research paper? Our expert writers suggest like this:

Collectively, the characters in The Sun Also Rises all seem to reflect a sense of feeling incomplete or having suffered some kind of trauma that leaves them psychologically damaged.

  • The Sun Also Rises CharactersJake is the most obvious example of this; he has been left physically incapacitated by World War I.
  • Cohn’s violent tendencies also reflect his sense of inadequacy as an individual who didn’t go to war, and a Jew.
  • Virtually all of the characters seem to abuse alcohol, which can be seen as a way to cope with the feelings of alienation and inadequacy that they all seem to share; through much of the novel, the characters can only truly express their pain, and often their true feelings toward each other, when they are drunk.

All of this is further illustrated through the obsession with sex and the way that the characters use it to hurt each other rather than to find the intimacy they desire. Despite his own sexual problems, Jake still longs for Brett, who seems to love him but cannot commit for that very reason; this seems to cause both of them deep unhappiness. Brett’s many affairs also lead the men into conflict with each other, including Cohn’s enraged behavior in Pamplona. Through these kinds of behaviors, the men ensure that they will never be able to share deep enough of themselves to forge a true connection with one another, which serves to add to the loneliness and emotional despair that permeates the entire group.

The men and women of the novel reflect the American treachery and have little redeeming qualities.  The Sun Also Rises is not a novel that illustrates exemplary male/female relationships, but rather illuminates an era lost faith in humanity in the light of post-war societies. Brett engaged in promiscuity and Robert Cohn had an affair with Frances Clyne. The women of the novel were stepping into societies new role for women as the liberated female. Sexuality was just being introduced to society on the screen and the divorce rate had just hit the one million mark in America at the time the novel was published.  The character of Jake Barnes is used to illustrate a portion of society that was uncomfortable with this new dynamic between men and women. To Jake and Mike Campbell, Brett Ashley is considered a casualty of war and the society that war produced.  In Hemingway's world, war was the loss of innocents for men and women, and himself.

This cynicism is very indicative of Hemingway, especially in his later years.  When people liked his work, he liked people.  However, discourse created enmity.   F. Scott Fitzgerald sent Hemingway a 10-page critique of A Farewell to Arms and Hemingway's answer was "Kiss my ass.".

Hemingway’s other characters, Bill Gorton, and Count Mippipopolous, refused to change their behavior and give meaning to their to useless lives, while Jake Barnes attempts to lead an honorable life. Jake’s moral desires take him on a journey to Burguete and Pamplona to find lost values. Jake states; "I was a little ashamed, and regretted that I was such a rotten Catholic, but realized there was nothing I could do about it, at least for a while...I only wished I felt religious and maybe I would the next time." as he ponders his separation from God.

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