The Sun Also Rises

Homosexuality Within Masculinity in The Sun Also Rises

Often put off as a writer of supremely masculine literature, Earnest Hemingway has earned a top position in the literary canon of the modernist era. As a master of provocative understatement, Hemingway developed his reputation for addressing issues of gender and sexuality with prevailing themes of masculinity. Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises is a prime example of these typical masculine undertones. The analytic examiner has no trouble locating readings that describe The Sun Also Rises, or any other Hemingway work, in this much acknowledged, male-dominated variety. What is an uncommon investigation is the homosexual themes borne into the novel. Specific characterizations and Hemingway's subtle language, when interpreted properly, reveal the irony of homosexuality suppressed in masculinity.

The novel's protagonist and narrator, Jake Barnes, embodies the simplest, most obvious homosexual characterization. As a soldier in World War I, Jakes was involved in an "accident" as Hemingway describes it, that leaves him impotent. Jake's physical impotence renders him unable to perform any sexual act. This becomes a metaphor for Jake's mental impotence; homosexuality that would forbid him from engaging in sexual...

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