The Sun Also Rises

Sex as Destruction in The Sun Also Rises

The destruction of sex, a noteworthy theme in Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, is specifically displayed in the relationship between the characters of Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. Because of Jake's impotence and Brett's promiscuity, they can never be together despite their deep connection and assumed love. An analysis of the attraction between them, Brett's past relationships and behaviors, and the parallels between sex and bullfighting reveals that Jake and Brett could never be together even if they were capable of consummating their relationship. To the contrary, it is the introduction of a sexual element that would ultimately destroy their relationship.

Since Brett is a member of the Lost Generation, growing up during the first World War, she is constantly seeking a sense of innocence to remind her of her pre-war existence. Brett finds this purity in the impotent Jake, and they both develop the belief that they are destined for one another. Jake's innocence is founded in Brett's unspoiled perception of him, an image that would be ruined were he and Brett capable of consummating their love. Jake and Brett remain friends and hide their feelings for each other as Brett philanders from one man...

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