Research Papers on Symbols in The Sun Also Rises
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On the surface, The Sun Also Rises seems like a novel about little more than a group of American expatriates living an extravagant, bacchanalian lifestyle in Europe. Hemingway, however, uses numerous symbols that add deeper meaning to his story. Bullfighting plays a role as the symbol for lust and passion. Brett, Romero, Montoya, and Jake are the characters most invigorated by the bullfights.
- Brett, who is herself a symbol of sexual liberation, decides that she must form a relationship with Romero, who is a bullfighter.
- Jake’s attraction to the fights also show that he is a deeply passionate man even though he is impotent.
- Hemingway shifts the meaning of the symbol away from strict sexuality towards a more general form of passion, a lust for life rather than just sex.
Water also plays an important role for many of the characters. Brett, for instance, takes frequent baths, which could symbolize her attempt to cleanse herself from sin as well as physical grime. Jake finds himself rejuvenated by the ocean water when he swims. Jake is also positively impacted by the water during his fishing trip with Bill, although in this case the water soothes and relaxes him instead, offering a different type of rejuvenation. Bill experiences a different, although equally positive, effect from the fishing trip. As he drinks the wine that has cooled in the river, he becomes inspired to speak of his desires and thoughts.