The Sun Also Rises

A Generation Revisited

Two epigraphs, the first a quotation by American poet Gertrude Stein, and the second a passage from Ecclesiastes, preface Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Stein's quotation offers a pessimistic view of the forever changed values of the post-World War I generation, while the passage from Ecclesiastes offers a more optimistic view of the restoration of these values.

The infamous words of Gertrude Stein, "you are all a lost generation," epitomize the meaningless, unsatisfactory existence of the post-World War I generation that Hemingway depicts in The Sun Also Rises. With no faith left in mankind, the value system of the whole generation is turned upside down, leaving them unable to deal with their own feelings. In an effort to struggle through their lives, the characters in The Sun Also Rises fill their days with depravity: sex, alcohol, and violence. Jake Barnes, rendered impotent during the War, has a difficult time adjusting to life. Unable to sustain a normal relationship with Brett, the woman he loves, he engages in drunken encounters with prostitutes who do nothing more than temporarily occupy the void in his life. Jake's wound has left him feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied, as if he is not...

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