“The Lost Generation in The Sun Also Rises”

Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises explores the conflicting emotions and values of

a post World War I group of expatriates. In many ways those expatriates resemble what

Gertrude Stain called “The Lost Generation” when she was talking to Ernest she said “You are a

Lost Generation.” (Hemingway, forward). “Seeking the Bohemian lifestyle and rejecting the

values of American materialism, a number of individuals, poets, writers, and artists fled to

France in the post World War I years.” (www.essortment.com, 1). These individuals became

known as the Lost Generation. Ernest Hemingway was one of the most famous of this group.

“Ernest Hemingway was the Lost Generation’s leader in the adaptation of the naturalistic

technique in the novel.” (www.essortment.com, 1). Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois.

His father, Clarence Edmunds Hemingway, taught him to enjoy nature and life outdoors. His

mother on the other hand would dress him in girl’s clothing as a child, for which he would never

forgive her for. In high school he published his early stories and poems in the school’s

newspaper. After graduating in 1917 he joined a volunteer ambulance unit in Italy. In 1918 he

was discharged with a severe leg wound; and he was decorated twice by the Italian government

for his services (www.studyworld.com). Often times he allowed people to believe he got his

war wound in a more heroic way than he actually had. In 1921 Hemingway went to Paris.

While in Paris Americans drank immensely in bars and cafes, which they couldn’t do in the

United States due to the prohibition on alcohol (paraphrase from Reynolds, chapter 1). “Around

1925, Ernest started writing a novel about a young man in World War I, but had to stop after a

few pages, and proceeded to write another novel, instead. This novel was based on his

experiences in Pamplona, Spain. He planned on calling it Fiesta, but changed it to The Sun

com. and he had an affair with a nurse in an Italian hospital while recuperating. To the place where the streams come from. It also appears that he cannot have his old religion.” This “Points to the fact that he is religious and godless at the same time.” (Hemingway. He spent the rest of his life writing and publishing short stories and novels. he also began touring Europe with his wife. “Ernest Hemingway”. All streams flow into the sea. She used to be a nurse in Italy. and hurries back to where it rises. and to the north. The sun rises and the sun sets. Jack Barnes is “the young American who tells the story. Ecclesiastics 1:4-7. He is a writer living in Paris. 90). she .”(Hays. He. “Generations come and generations go. “The new woman’s radical challenge to the traditional social structure is seen in Lady Brett Ashley… Entering the public sphere without apology. but will not be with him because he can’t satisfy her physically. He also had a passion for bullfighting and traveling. but was discharged due to an injury. Lady Brett Ashley loves to drink. but the Earth remains forever. 152). forward).But Barnes is a religious man and… continues to enter the house of the Lord. The Sun Also Rises is generally acknowledged to be Hemingway’s best novel. Many of Hemingway’s own experiences helped shape The Sun Also Rises. The title of The Sun Also Rises comes from a passage from the Bible.” (Grimes.” (www..” (www.com. ever returning on its course. which is where she met Jack while he was recuperating in the hospital. 5). yet the sea is never full.” and “is the only character who keeps up standards of conduct. He once fought in World War I. The wind blows to the south.. Barnes wants Brett but cannot have her. “Barnes is a member of Lost Generation and Brett is the image of godlessness. was wounded in the war.studyworld. He loves to travel and watch bullfighting. round and round it goes.Also Rises. He also was a writer in Paris. She also loves Jack. 2).theatlantic. there they return again. like Jake.

such as the bar and the bullfight. drink. Here there is more drinking and partying. Jake and one of his American friends. Bill Gorton. Romero is a nineteen year old bullfighting prodigy. He then goes and beats up Romero when he finds the two together. leaving Jake. “Nobody ever lives their lives all the way up except for bullfighters…Listen Robert. Brett. and Mike. Cohn often gets bored with his life. Cohn wasn’t in the war. and play cards for five days.” (Hemingway. Spain for a fishing trip and to attend a fiesta there. They then go to Pamplona to meet up with Cohn. While there they fish. To which Jake replies. The next day the last bull fight has ended. That same night Cohn knocks out Jake and Mike for insulting him and for not telling him where Brett was. “I can’t stand it to think that my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it. 10 and 11). in fact Jack and many of the others who consider him not to be “one of them” often make rude jokes about him never being in the war and for still holding on to the pre-WW I values of romance and loyalty.”(Hemingway. The Sun Also Rises is narrated by Jake Barnes. who is also a war veteran. 68). While another of Jake’s friends Lady Brett Ashley and Cohn are out of the country. make plans to go to Pamplona. 10). Brett’s fiancé. After a few days of preparing the fiesta begins. Robert Cohn is a Jew who used to be the middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. She believes that she has fallen love with Romero and convinces Jake to introduce her to him. In the beginning of the story Jake’s friend Robert Cohn confides in him that he thinks that his life is going by too fast. . That night she and Romero spend the night together.” (Wagner-Martin. Brett leaves Mike to go to Madrid with Romero. A few days later Brett sees one of the bullfighters named Romero.dares to frequent places and events previously off limits to her. and everyone is starting to leave. going to another country doesn’t make any difference… You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.

had love affairs.com. “The Lost Generation is a term used to describe a group of American writers who were rebellious against what America had become by the 1900’s. As they’re leaving Spain Brett says that they could’ve had a good time together. European and other countries began to recognize a distinctive democratic American culture. There he gets a telegram from Brett asking him to come to Madrid. “One aspect of realism. and paved the way for subsequent generations of writers.” (Tripoli and Gross. these individuals sought the meaning of life. The Lost Generation was a group of writers that didn’t agree with the post war society. These “writers all gained prominence in the 20th century. The reason that the Lost Generation was so important to our history is “because it aided in the desire for a cosmopolitan culture to be established and to exist in America… Because when American culture became more defined.” (Tripoli and Gross. 2). 1). and each goes their separate ways. Jake replies with” Yes isn’t it pretty to think so?” (Hemingway. One of the innovations that the Lost Generation made with writing is used in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. alone. “Full of youthful idealism.” (www. and created some of the finest American literature to date. She says that she has broken up with Romero so that she wouldn’t ruin his career. 6). and that she wants to go back to Mike. Jake decides to head back into Spain. and Bill in Pamplona as the fiesta draws to a close.com.Mike. drive out of Spain together. to San Sebastian to spend a few more days relaxing. 1). and believed that they had all the time in the world to spare. The Lost Generation writers spent time over seas between the first and second World Wars (Tripoli and Gross. 247). These writers were young. was that individuals were depicted as the masters of their . He goes and finds her in a hotel room. in contrast to romanticism.” (www. The next day they rent a taxi.essortment. 7).essortment. drank excessively. Their innovations challenged assumptions about writing and expression.

91). and The Sun Also Rises is a distinctly anti- romantic book. “So it was to be the Lost Generation… they grew to maturity during a period if violent change… It was lost first of all because it was… almost wrenched away from it’s attachment to any region or tradition… It was lost because its training had prepared for another world than existed after the war… It had no trustworthy guides.com.theatlantic. and full of stuffed dogs. set values. of the Lost Generation. 133).fate.” (www. “The Lost Generation is symbolic of a mode of existence bereft of heroes.” That “Brett drew in her off-the-cuff diagnosis of Count Mippiopolous’s values: ‘You haven’t any values. . but rather as without control over their destiny. The generation belonged to a period of confused transition from values already fixed to values that had to be created. This generation was without heroes. You’re just dead.’” The author also said. it seems. fixed values. This also is one of the traits. “… a simple conclusion about life in the Lost Generation. and had formed for itself only the vaguest picture of society and the writer’s place in it. 46). that’s all. who were called the Lost Generation. The Sun Also Rises explores the conflicting emotions and values of a post World War I group of expatriates. Almost everyone in The Sun Also Rises is devoid of values.” (www.studyworld.com. and felt that it was out of place in the post World War I society.” (Grimes.

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