The Sun Also Rises

Jake Barnes' Quest for Control

I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.

I have outwalked the further city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.

I have passed by the watchman on his beat.

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

-Robert Frost

Gertrude Stein summarized the psychological complexities of the post-World War II expatriate generation by calling them "lost." While the 1920s seemed to be a time for decadence and reckless celebration, Stein's statement reveals the sad truth of the era. The war was a distinct turning point for all corners of society, from lifestyle to fashion to intellect. Unfortunately, however, the war veteran's mental and physical composure remained the most lasting casualty. Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises is an excellent showcase of the war's widespread destruction. His young, American wanderers represent Gertrude Stein's "lost" ones, their moral maturity stunted by the horrors of world war.

Jake Barnes, in particular, suffers in a body rendered impotent and a mind void of emotion or vitality. As peacetime life greets Jake with a flow of people, parties, and travel, he struggles to retrieve his humanity from the clutches of war. Jake does...

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