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Comparing Barnes of The Sun Also Rises and Caraway of The Great Gatsby

Similarities Between Barnes of The Sun Also Rises and Caraway of The Great Gatsby

Supported by Ten Quotes from Sun Also Rises, No quotes from Gatsby Jacob Barnes shares a personality quirk with Nick Caraway; both want to give the impression of being decent, honest men forced to endure the corruption and pettiness of those around them. “What’s not clear through most of The Sun Also Rises is whether or not Jake believes his own press”(Trilling, 34). Nick Caraway speaks openly of his integrity and then contradicts himself with his actions. Hemingway uses the contrast between Jake’s descriptions of others and what is left unsaid to establish his superior morals. This leaves room to wonder about Jake’s sincerity, but it’s not until the last page of the story that his complicity is fully revealed.

Like Nick, Jake is the narrator of the story, yet the first two chapters of The Sun Also Rises focus on the character of Robert Cohn; a man that Jake says that he likes, but describes with subtle condescension. When Jake recounts the wealth and position of Cohn’s family, it’s inferred that his own background is modest and somehow more honest. He tells of the women who have controlled Cohn, mother, ex-wife and the forceful Frances, implying that he himself has never been so weak-willed. Even Cohn’s accomplishments as a boxer at Princeton are called into question and that detail is like a loaded gun introduced in the first act of a play and bound to go off in the third. Cohn is painted as spoiled and immature to Jake’s own self-sufficient manliness.

As the stage is set and the characters introduced, Jake seems detached from the events. His descriptions are clever and can be cruel, as when he notes that he “saw…

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…de the conflict out of which comes Brett’s plea to Jake for help. Did he plan this all along? Perhaps not, but he certainly did nudge things along in the direction that would bring him to Brett’s rescue. He may not be able to enjoy her as other men make fools of themselves to, but she’ll always return to the safety of him and he’ll never look the fool.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Bloom, Harold. Ernest Hemingway. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1985.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. 1925. New York: Scribner Classic, 1986.

Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc., 1993.

Raleigh, John Henry. “F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.” Mizener 99-103.

Trilling, Lionel. “F. Scott Fitzgerald.” Critical Essays on Scott Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby.” Ed. Scott Donaldson. Boston: Hall, 1984. 13-52.

Comparing The Sun Also Rises and Possessing the Secret of Joy

Similarities in The Sun Also Rises and Possessing the Secret of Joy

Ernest Hemingway and Alice Walker, although separated by seven decades, show striking similarity in their definitions of love in their novels The Sun Also Rises and Possessing the Secret of Joy. It is a unique similarity of circumstances that links these two novels. Jake Barnes, the protagonist of The Sun Also Rises, is literally and symbolically castrated during his service in the First World War. Tashi, the protagonist of Possessing the Secret of Joy, undergoes an ancient tribal ritual of female circumcision that leaves her incapable of having sex. Through these two characters, Hemingway and Walker proclaim their belief that love can exist outside the parameters of a conventional relationship.

Both Jake and Tashi are wounded by serving their countries–Jake in the war, Tashi in an ancient tribal ritual. In both cases, their sacrifice is expected of them. Jake, after returning from the battlefield, is commended by his officer. It certainly was a “rotten way to be wounded,” and Jake’s officer says, “You gave more than your life.” To his officer, however, if Jake had given more than his life it was given in honor of his country, so any consequences of his wound was a fate he would have to live with. He was supposed to be proud to have given so much for the war effort, but his wound does not make Jake a hero. Instead, he is reduced to something less than a man. His wound becomes a joke instead of a mark of a martyr. Jake thinks, “At one time or another I had probably considered it [his wound] from most of its various angles, including the one that certain injuries or imperfections are a subject of merriment while remaining quite serious for the person possessing them” (20). As the war grows distant, Jake must assimilate to life as a lover, not a soldier. In a time when people try to forget the war, Jake becomes not a hero but the object of a cruel joke.

“You have given more than your life.”

-The Sun Also Rises

Tashi is also wounded for her country. Her African tribe, the Olinkans, demands that everyone have their face scared with traditional tribal markings. For women this “initiation” also includes circumcision. Tashi wants to go through with the ritual–just as Jake decides to join the army–so that she can sacrifice for the traditions and culture she believes in.

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