The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

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The novel The Sun Also Rises is considered a masterpiece of American literature. Ernest established himself as one of the preeminent authors of his day by writing this novel. As a result, he has used much of his literature experience to express his writing skill as a fiction author and journalist. The book has a contemporary narrative atmosphere, and the author uses a variety of themes and characters to express his message. The Sun Also Rises depicts the lives of people whose childhoods were ravaged by World War I. The war-affected them in various ways both directly and indirectly, and since then, they have been known as the lost generation. Even though the characters fail to mention the war directly, everything they do and say tends to be troubled by the war’s experience (Vernon).The paper is going to give a broad discussion on the effects of war among the characters in the novel that Ernest Hemingway has used as one of his themes.

Discussion on the Theme Effects of War

In situations of any war, many effects tend to be experienced in the lives of people who participate in them. In this case, characters like Jake Barns and Lady Brett are part of the people who were involved in World War 1. Hemingway has used this theme to communicate an underlying message on the negative impacts of this war. The characters are said to be a lost generation since they have been stuck in a destructive cycle by frequent involvement in alcoholism, religious and moral confusion. Besides, the manner in which their lives tend to be purposeless indicates the horrors of war (Cannon).

The World War 1 led to the loss of lives and caused a lot of injuries on those who survived. Hemingway has used Jake Barnes as one of the characters to show how people got wounded. Besides, he after that becomes impotent and this upsets him so much since he could not survive a relationship with Brett (Klaver). Also, this condition has made his friends to change the way they view his personalities. On the other hand, the author has listed a number of his characters that he calls the war veterans. The war led to the displacement of people from their homes and at the same time a break up of families.

It is evident as Hemingway brings out Jake to be one of the affected people who seek refuge in Paris. The rupturing event of World War 1 makes it impossible for Jake to return to America due to fear. Moreover, he feels comfortable in a community that shared the traumatic experience of the war first-hand. For this reason, he thinks that going to back to his native country will not help but instead endanger his life. He opts to stay with people who helped him during his disturbing moments after the war. It is a clear indication that this war brought great loss to the people’s lives.

The war also led to psychological torture among the people involved in the process. For instance, Jake cannot make to forget whatever he experienced in the war and this has affected him in some way. Been a war veteran, Hemingway has explained Jake as a character in the novel that was forced to learn shooting as a form of protection during the war. He had to shoot and kill at the same to fight for his life. In this situation, he seeks refuge in Paris after the war where he feels he will have peace of mind. Unfortunately, even after the war is over, the incidents remain in his mind, and that is why he chooses to be alcoholic to drive away the horrific war occurrences.


In conclusion, Hemingway has used his characters to convey a message on the effects of World War 1. Most of his characters are expatriates in Paris. The novel has given information on whoever took part in the war and the effects it has brought to their lives in the end. As discussed above, characters like Jake Barns have suffered both physical and emotional consequences of the war. Just like in any war, people lose lives; there is a lot of property destruction, immorality takes root in the involved societies, and it also causes psychological and emotional torture. Hemingway has done his best as a classic author in putting down this historical event in America and for this reason; it has been classified among the top classical novels. When looking at the results of this war, most of them impact people’s lives in a negative way which is not the best thing to the well being of individuals in any society. It gives a moral lesson that people should not choose war in their lives but instead substitute it with friendly ways of solving issues.

Work Cited

Cannon, Michael. "Traumatizing Arcadia: Postwar Pastoral in The Sun Also Rises." The Hemingway Review (2012): 57-71.

Klaver, Elizabeth. "Erectile Dysfunction and the Post War Novel: The Su Also Rises and In Country." Literature and medicine (2012): 86-102.

Vernon, Alex. Teaching Hemingway and War. 2016.

September 11, 2021


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