The author Ernest Hemingway highlighted the adverse effects of world war in this book. The World War 1 weakened moral values, the justice system, and overall faith. People deviated from established practices of their faiths that were important for life. Both men and women who witnessed war lost their psychological and moral track and became deranged (Hemingway, Ernest). The thought that life that is front of them is meaningless. In this regard, Brett, Jake, and their associates gave a something substantial to the scenario. Since they were in a state of disbelief, their lives were shallow. The spent their time in insignificant and minor activities, for example, aimless drinking, dissipation, and dancing.
The considerable point is that Hemingway never clearly classed Jake and his friends lives meaningless, nor had she expressed that the world war 1 caused that aimlessness in their lives rather he conveyed this message through the depiction of the characters and how they were approaching their lives, he gave this indication through the mental states of the Jake and his friends. This portrayal was contrary to their apparent actions. Further, the constant partying and hanging around wouldn’t make them happy from inside. Also, the jokes that they used to crack never pleased them (Hemingway, Ernest). This somehow enabled them not to think about war and the miseries that are suffering. In order to counter their problems and sufferings, they spent most of their time in hanging around and parties in some way or other despite the fact that deep inside they remained gutted and broken. In a sense, they were in a state of war with themselves, whatever was inside them they were trying to kill it through different means which they thought were best at that time. For them, the consumption of alcohol and constant partying proved to be a futile effort as these were not the remedies for their problems.
The World War I left a very negative impact on the overall approach of male or their masculinity. Their bravery, strength, devoted soldier had been overshadowed by the bloodshed attributed to that bloody war. The fear of death always hovered over the individuals and the soldiers and in order to save themselves from bombardment the soldiers often sat together in groups. The survival was more directly proportional to luck rather than bravery. If today they survived they were really uncertain about tomorrow’s devastation or if they have survived today and their fellow has succumbed to injuries they can’t celebrate their survival today. The war distorted the realities of the life and human being. Jake was an example of such distortion as his manhood i.e. his male organ became useless as a result of the injury he sustained in the war.
He was under the heavy burden that he was no longer a man that he used to be before. He could not overcome the feeling of being a non-male, the feeling was too damaging and lethal for him. Also, he faced Brett’s refusal to start a relationship with him which further added an insult to the injury. In the novel, the condition of Jake was evident directly but he was not the only victim as there were other. There was a feeling of insecurity about manhood in all the veterans. Again, Hemingway didn’t use the direct expression to explain the whole situation rather he used indirect means by describing Jake and his friend’s response to Cohn. They all picked on Cohn for abuse whenever they found him being involved in any unmanly activities, for example, chasing Brett around etc. They used to release their frustration to Cohn when they see any weakness in him.
This was the way they were consoling them indirectly. However, they were under the constant fear and anxiety about their non-masculinity. Hemingway presented this as an irony that Brett being a girl was manly as compared to the other man who was living n resentment and disappointment. She had a short haircut similar to that of a body, she used to call herself chap, and she had a sense of independence and security. Moreover, she had a male name which gave her a sense of manhood within herself. Whereas, Jake, Mile, and Bill lack those abilities as they were uncertain of their manhood or masculinity.
In the novel Sun also rises, sex was considered as a strong and destructive tool. The sexual envy prompted Cohn to break his code of ethics and attack Romero, Mike and Jake. Further, the passion of sex prevented Brett to enter in a relationship with Jake despite her deep love for him. Therefore, sex sabotaged both Brett’s love and Cohn’s morality. Brett was an independent lady and she was related to the negative effects of sex. Brett has had sexual intercourse with many men with no desire of going into a commitment with any of them, she didn’t follow her love rather she pursued her lust. This attitude of hers also filled an inferiority complex in the personality of Jake who used to love her and wanted to spend his life with him. The Hemingway described that how world war left its horrible effects on the lives of the people. The war disturbed the overall patterns, feelings, and nature of the individuals, many of them were unable to escape the situation, though they tried to overcome the effects of war by keeping themselves happy they couldn’t achieve the happiness and purpose of their existence. Life seemed a burden for them.
Hemingway, Ernest. The sun also rises. Simon and Schuster, 2002.