The Sun Also Rises
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Sun Also Rises is considered the first significant novel by Ernest Hemingway. Published in 1926, the plot centers on a group of expatriate Americans in Europe during the 1920s. The book's title, selected by Hemingway's publisher, is taken from Ecclesiastes 1:5: "the sun also ariseth." Hemingway's own title for the novel was ¡Fiesta!, which was used in the UK and Spanish edition of the novel.
The novel is a powerful insight into the lives and values of the so called 'lost generation', a generation supposedly scarred by the effects of World War I. The main characters are Jake Barnes and Brett Ashley. Barnes suffered an injury during World War I which makes him unable to consummate a sexual relationship with Brett. The action follows Jake and his various companions across France and Spain. Here Jake manages to find peace away from Brett and her followers, by taking a fishing trip deep in the Spanish hills. The fiesta in Pamplona is the setting for a meeting of all the characters, who play out their various desires and anxieties, alongside a great deal of drinking. This takes place amongst the rituals and action of the bull fight festival. The novel ends ambiguously, with people going their separate ways, and Jake going off to help out Brett.
The novel has heavy undercurrents of suppressed emotions and buried values. Its weary and aimless expatriates serve as metaphors for society's lost optimism and innocence after the war. The topic of war is rarely discussed explicitly by any of the characters, but its effects are alluded to through the sexual impotence of Jake and his war wound, and the behaviour of the other characters, whom Carlos Baker described as "floundering in an emulsion of ennui and alcohol." The war is also present as the tragedy that affects the way characters are able to deal with themselves, and post-war society. The themes of the novel are portrayed by the quotation at the opening of the book: "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever." A famous scene from the book, graphically describing the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, helped popularize that event in English-speaking cultures.
Allusions/references to actual history, geography
The novel was a roman à clef, as many of the characters were based on Hemingway and his friends who accompanied him to Spain in 1925. The character of Robert Cohn is a savage portrait of novelist Harold Loeb, who aroused the anger of Hemingway by indulging in a tryst with Lady Duff Twysden in Normandy before bringing her to Spain. Twysden was the model for Brett Ashley. Kathleen Eaton Cannell was the model for Frances Clyne. Ford Madox Ford was the model for Braddocks. Hemingway based the character of Barnes on himself. Jacob Barnes is also considered to be an allusion to Jacob in the Old Testament.