In The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway describes aimless, jaded and wounded characters and their efforts to numb these feelings of emptiness by leading idle lives of excess. Hemingway’s great talent is that he shows these complicated emotions with his classic clean and simple writing style.
There are endless back and forth exchanges between the narrator Jake Barnes, Robert Cohn, Lady Brett Ashley, Mike Campbell and the people they meet in Paris and in Pamplona. Hemingway tells his story through these seemingly insignificant conversations and Jake’s narration where we discover important things about each character. We learn how Jake is still struggling to accept his war injury and understand his relationship with Brett. We see how Robert Cohn becomes more and more shunned as he pursues Brett. And with every one of Brett’s reckless relationships with the men who surround her, particularly Mike and the bullfighter Pedro Romero, we discover her own feelings of a lost life.
I particularly liked how Hemingway took his description of Cohn on the very first page of the book and directly tied it to Cohn’s exploding temper in Pamplona. I saw hope in Jake’s bitter-sweet relationship with Brett despite the overwhelmingly hopeless theme of the story.
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