The Sun Also Rises
The Great War's Toll: Veterans' Experiences in The Sun Also Rises
World War I had a devastating effect on all of its participants, transforming and disillusioning them permanently. Ernest Hemingway, himself a participant, clearly illustrates this concept in Sun Also Rises through his protagonist Jake Barnes as well as Jake's circle of close friends. Their aimless, empty post-war lives exemplify Gertrude Stein's assertion that "You are all a lost generation."
Bill Gorton is one member of Jake's coterie of fellow war veterans. Upon being first introduced to the reader, Bill is depicted as a traveler, wandering from New York to Vienna to Budapest and finally back to Paris. This wandering between America and Europe-home and place of military service-indicates that Bill feels split between the two, unable to fully identify himself in either.
When Bill shares his impressions of Vienna, he comments that it was "Not so good. It seemed better than it was" because he was "Tight, Jake. I was tight" (76). This just begins to demonstrate how alcohol (and oftentimes alcohol abuse) goes hand-in-hand with just about all the aspects of daily life for Bill and other veterans. In fact the reader can easily observe that, even as he is telling Jake about his experiences...
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