“The Sun Also Rises” Final Essay


“You are all a lost generation” is a quote that directly coincides with the novel The Sun Also Rises. The Sun Also Rises By Ernest Hemingway is an audacious fiction novel published in 1926. This novel uncovers the generation which was directly affected by WW1, the Lost Generation. The Lost Generation is an unfulfilled generation coming to maturity during a period of instability. The impact of this generation can be seen in many aspects of this novel, specifically in the characters themselves, and a deep dive into them will give us more of an insight into the Lost Generation. 

One character that displays the characteristics of the lost generation is the protagonist of the novel Jake Barnes. Jake says "You can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. "(Hemingway 10). This is a great example of the wandering and directionless behaviors of the lost generation by directly stating the nomadic lifestyle of the Lost Generation. The Lost Generation is the people who are indeed lost and in an effort of trying to find themselves and where they belong they often don't stay in one place for too long. Another example can be found in the quote “It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night is another thing” ( Hemingway 31). An analysis of this quote suggests that in addition to the lost generation alcohol is also a present theme and is used, or abused, by the characters in an endless repetition that never stops and they are always looking for their next escape. What they are trying to escape is the feeling of being lost, of missing something in their life. Jake is just one of the many characters in The Sun Also Rises feeling the effects of WW1.

The character with the most prominent characteristics of the lost generation is Lady Brett Ashely. She says  “I’m a goner. I’m mad about the Romero boy. I’m in love with him, I think” (Hemingway 165). Her actions regarding Romero are careless and not thought through very well and perfectly resembles the restless nature of the Lost Generation. There is also a sense of doubt in her answer saying she thinks she loves him but she doesn't know, maybe she loves him or maybe she's just using him as yet another distraction. Another example can be found in the quote “ “Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “We could have had such a damned good time together” (Hemingway 223). In one of the last lines of the novel, Brett is once again lost and conflicted about Jake. She longs for something she knows she cannot have and she is unfulfilled without Jake. Thus, the is Lost Generation is prominent in many of the characters in The Sun Also Rises, specifically Jake and Brett, as you can see in their careless efforts to find themselves. 

In closing, the Lost Generation is present in many aspects of the novel and can be specifically seen in the characters themselves. Hemingway implies the idea of the Lost generation through his portrayal of the characters’ mental and emotional lives. Brett clearly illustrates that the Lost Generation is unfulfilled in the example that she is longing for something she cannot have. All in all, the Lost Generation can help us understand the novel by dissecting the characters and making sense of their choices. 

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