The Sun Also Rises focuses primarily on the dissolutions of the post-war generation and how they cannot find their place in life. In Hemingway's text, Jake Barnes is one of the lost men. Jake wastes his life on being alone and drinking the majority of the time. Within the first half of the book, Robert Cohn asks Jake, Don't you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you're not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you've lived nearly half the time you have to live already? To this, Jake answers, Yes, every once in a while. Jake is an example of the lost men, having the freedom to choose his place, but having chosen poorly.
The novel shows how characters learn how to leave as a result of something traumatic occurring. The main character, whom is searching for their path in life, is Jake. While in a carriage ride early on in the story, Jake refuses a kiss from Georgette. Jake tells the excuse that he is sick. Everybody's sick. I'm sick too, Georgette tells Jake. The motivation of using being sick as an excuse is shown during a conversation between Jake and the Count. The Count tells Jake that is the secret. You must get to know the values. In order to search for these values, you must however have the willingness to pay the price. First one must acquire them, and then one can live by them.
The characters had a each been harmed either mentally or physically from the war. From where they are now, it can all be traced back to the war. Jake, for one, had a physical war injury, leading to it being mental. Being emasculated, Jake's affair with Brett turned into a comical visual, which he admits. Jake's wound is a metaphor of the entire lost generation. While Jake's wound deprives him of the ability to perform sexually, the symbolic importance is that it does not rid him of the desire. The characters of the novel often desire fulfillment and purpose, but lack the ability to find it.
Visualized in the shoe box project, Jake shows his desire to be alone. Jake receives a guest while at home, Aren't you working? He said. No, Jake said. They went downstairs to the cafe. Jake had found the best way to get rid of friends. He had found that once you have a drink, all he needed to say was: Well, I've got to get back and get off some cables, and it was done. This showing that Jake predominantly felt happiest when he was along.
There was one occurrence of Jake feeling completely happy, which was when he and Bill went on a fishing trip. On this trip in Bayonne, there were no women, all that the men did was fish, drink wine, and talk. When they had returned to town, Jake met Brett at San Sebasti??n, his peacefulness is destroyed.
One of Jake's old friends, Montoya, owns a hotel. Montoya was a patron of bullfighting. He is one whom admires and accepts Jake for appreciating and understanding bullfighting. Montoya trusts Jake so much that he asks him for advice about how to handle Romero, who may well be the youngest and greatest bullfighter. Understanding the implications of his actions, Jake introduces Brett to Romero, which breaks Montoya's trust in Jake. Due to Romero's frustrated love for Brett, he is opened to Brett's bad influence. Once Jake realizes his own weaknesses, he finds that it had cost him his aficionado status.
The majority of Jake's actions lead to him being alone, which he seems to enjoy most. Even when he is on the fishing trip in Bayonne, Bill sings a song about pity and irony, which seems to be the overall tone of his character. There is pity when it comes personal suffering and endless searching. However, there is irony when it comes to separation of characters.
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