Giovanni's Room

Sex and Power: The Sun Also Rises and Giovanni’s Room College

The relationship between sex and power within literature is incredibly complex. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway features the main character Jake, who faces the relationship between sex and power via his impotence, as well as his love for a woman. In comparison, Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, highlights the main character David as confronting the relationship between sex and power through his closeted homosexuality along with his infatuation with forcing himself to conform to heterosexual ideals. Both Jake and David portray diverse sexual situations within The Sun Also Rises and Giovanni’s Room. With these situations, the overlying theme of sex rendering one powerless, and contrarily, sex rendering one powerful, is exemplified between the characters and their texts.

Jake, the main character within The Sun Also Rises, bears the debilitating trait of impotence due to the loss of his penis in war. With his impotence comes a non-existent and utterly impossible sex life. This makes Jake an interesting character, as his failure to be able to have sexual relations due to his lack of the proper organ leaves him powerless. Jake’s lack of power due to his impotence is initially seen in an encounter with a prostitute named...

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