The Sun Also Rises
first appeared in 1926, and yet it's as fresh and clean and fine as it ever was, maybe finer. Hemingway's famously plain declarative sentences linger in the mind like poetry: "Brett was damned good-looking. She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy's. She started all that." His cast of thirtysomething dissolute expatriates--Brett and her drunken fiancé, Mike Campbell, the unhappy Princeton Jewish boxer Robert Cohn, the sardonic novelist Bill Gorton--are as familiar as the "cool crowd" we all once knew. No wonder this quintessential lost-generation novel has inspired several generations of imitators, in style as well as lifestyle.
Jake Barnes, Hemingway's narrator with a mysterious war wound that has left him sexually incapable, is the heart and soul of the book. Brett, the beautiful, doomed English woman he adores, provides the glamour of natural chic and sexual unattainability. Alcohol and post-World War I anomie fuel the plot: weary of drinking and dancing in Paris cafés, the expatriate gang decamps for the Spanish town of Pamplona for the "wonderful nightmare" of a week-long fiesta. Brett, with fiancé and ex-lover Cohn in tow, breaks hearts all around until she falls, briefly, for the handsome teenage bullfighter Pedro Romero. "My God! he's a lovely boy," she tells Jake. "And how I would love to see him get into those clothes. He must use a shoe-horn." Whereupon the party disbands.
But what's most shocking about the book is its lean, adjective-free style. The Sun Also Rises is Hemingway's masterpiece--one of them, anyway--and no matter how many times you've read it or how you feel about the manners and morals of the characters, you won't be able to resist its spell. This is a classic that really does live up to its reputation. --David Laskin
From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up. Two slender volumes that present critical information about popular classic titles. Bloom's introduction is followed by a short biographical sketch of each author and then a detailed thematic and structural analysis that summarizes the novel in question, chapter by chapter. Excerpts from critical essays constitute the major portion of each book. Some of the essays on The Sun center around character analysis, especially of the main female character, Brett Ashley. Other entries include comparisons to other works of literature including F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and discussions of the symbolism, morality, and the work's historical context. Hemingway's own interpretation of the book and a letter from Fitzgerald to Hemingway about its flaws are excerpted. In the second book, the writings explore Angelou's use of language, her narrative technique, unique qualities of Caged Bird, comparisons with other works, and opposition to it. Motherhood, racial pride and self-hatred, rape, and honesty are among the issues explored. While similar material may be found in many other places, these series titles will be useful resources.?Lois McCulley, Wichita Falls High School, TX
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