The Sun Also Rises Essay Thesis Ideas

1. Compare Jake and Cohn. How does the fact that Jake went to war and Cohn did not make them different from each other? What qualities do they share with the rest of their acquaintances? Is it safe to call them both outsiders?

2. Bill tells Jake that “[s]ex explains it all.” To what extent is Bill’s statement true of the novel The Sun Also Rises?

3. Discuss the characterization of Lady Brett Ashley. Is she a sympathetic character? Is she a positive female role model? Does she treat her male friends cruelly?

4. Read closely and analyze one of the longer passages in which Hemingway describes bulls or bullfighting. What sort of language does Hemingway use? Does the passage have symbolic possibilities? If the bullfighting passages do not advance the plot, how do they function to develop themes and motifs?

5. Analyze the novel in the context of World War I. How does the experience of war shape the characters and their behavior? Examine the differences between the veterans, like Jake and Bill, and the nonveterans, like Cohn and Romero.

6. Why is Cohn verbally abused so often in the novel? Is it because he is Jewish? Why does Mike attack Cohn but not Jake, whom Brett actually loves? Why does Cohn accept so much abuse?

7. Discuss the problem of communication in the novel. Why is it so difficult for the characters to speak frankly and honestly? In what circumstances is it possible for them to speak openly? Are there any characters who say exactly what is on their mind? If so, how are these characters similar to each other?

OP danny411  

Dec 3, 2011   #4

help me with my essay
Drinking to cope: An Analysis of The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway documents the "Lost Generation" excessive drinking to cope with the disillusionment of society. The characters can't find meaning or reason in heir traumatic wartime experiences. Jake states, "It was in reality a calamity for civilization and perhaps would have better avoided" (Hemingway 25). Without the belief in religion, love, justice and morality to guide the characters they rely on partying and drinking to fill the void. Yet it doesn't seem to help! Therefore, it can be suggested that in The Sun Also Rises the characters drinking is an ineffective method to cope with the feeling that life is meaningless. Hemingway suggests it is better to address the underlying psychological issues to find fulfillment.

Why is drinking an ineffective coping strategy? While drinking numbs the characters it doesn't allow them to forget about the painful memories of war. Jake is particularly affected by his physical injuries sustained. He is constantly traumatized by the injury that left him impotent. Hemingway uses a number of techniques to show the effects on Jake. Phallic symbols and steers reinforce Jakes impotence. Hemingway also shows how self medication fails to provide relief. Often after drinking at the cafes and bars he ends up alone. In his apartment he stares at the ceiling crying and thinking about the cause of his injury. Jake couldn't stop thinking about his experience in Italy. (38-39). In this sense alcohol provides the trigger for his distress.

In addition, alcohol fails to provide an appropriate release. This causes the characters to keep their emotions bottled up. As the novel progresses the drinking increases. This suggests that the characters are self medicating in response to an increase in inner anxiety. Jake and Bill display signs of passive aggressive behavior. They mock the war and disregarding the customs of the local people in Pamplona. More overt are the actions of Mike. Since Alcohol is a depressant it increases his angry outburst towards Cohen and Brett. The Festival culminates when Cohen beats up Jake, Mike, and Pedro Romero. Jake says, "Things that happened could only have happened during the fiesta. Everything became quite unreal finally and it seemed as though nothing could have any consequences" (Hemingway 158). Thus, emotions are repressed by drinking alcohol.

By relying on alcohol to relieve stress, the characters lack control over their lives. In particular, Jake shows a rigid pattern in which he is unable to confront his problem. Through Hemingway, Jake is shown as a victim. The irony is he relies solely on drinking to cope. According to Psychologist such as Myers "Helpless, oppressed people often perceive that control is external, and this perception may deepen their feelings of resignation" (Myers 436). This theory explains Jakes inability to cope. Mike contrasts Jake in his awareness that alcohol is not the solution, but seems unwilling to change. It can be concluded the characters follow a cyclic pattern in which they are unable to confront their problems due to a perception they lack control.

Hemingway shows that it is better to address the underlying psychological issues to find fulfillment. In The Sun also Rises underlying issues due to physical and psychological trauma are solely responsible for the characters use of alcohol. It is those issues that must be healed rather than relying on maladaptive use of alcohol. This will allow them to regain control, reduce their anxiety and gain a sense of inner peace. More importantly the symptoms of alcohol abuse will go away since nothing is left to drive them.

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