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The Sun Also Rises (Forum Locked Forum Locked)
 Ernest Hemingway Message Boards : The Sun Also Rises
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Mike N
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Posted: 18 November 2005 at 1:22pm | IP Logged Quote Mike N

I think that Hemingway does make his characters in the novel heros by making them people of action and by doing this, he relates his characters to those in "The Great Gatsby". Hemingway's characters of action are heros because they act. In TGG, Gatsby wasn't much of a hero because he always kept his distance from Daisy throughout his life after he leaves for the war...tbc
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jeremyc
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Posted: 20 November 2005 at 4:25pm | IP Logged Quote jeremyc

I'm not sure that I agree with Mike. Sure Hemingway is making his characters people of action, but does that make them heroes simply for doing things? I do things. You do things. I'm sure that there are plenty of people who go around flirting, kissing, and drinking. But does that make them heroes?

I can see the paralell to The Great Gatsby, though. Both books are primarily about social interactions and have people primarily of action. But just to reiterate my point, none of them were heroes -in any sense of the word - either.

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Jake T
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 10:06am | IP Logged Quote Jake T

I really don't see any of the characters as real heroes.  Richard said it best that all they do is wander aimlessly through life in Paris.  Sure, Thoreau says to live life to the fullest, but drinking every night, partying, and conflicting to me isn't really living life, let alone being a hero.  With using verbs to describe their constant actions doesn't make sense to me.  I see a hero as not merely just a person who does something, but knows what they're doing and does it in a noble way.  This doesn't seem to occur that much in The Sun Also Rises.

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Matt B
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 10:14am | IP Logged Quote Matt B

I suppose one of the reasons Hemingway portrays his characters as people of action was his participation and distaste with the war. One problem with wars throughout history, though more particularly in recent years, is that the higher-ups in the government have no idea about war. Most of them have never been there. They say things about the war, about how it is planned well, etc. However well it is planned, war is hell. They have no idea how it works in the real world; they only know about battle maps and where this and that batallion is supposed to go. As a soldier, Hemingway most likely experienced this disorganization and thusly may have had a distaste towards the government and with that, people who say things but don't take action. This frustration most likely subconsciously crept its way into his writing. That is why his characters don't ponder and think and mull things over; they take immediate action, whether it is reckless or not. This all ties in with Brian Turner and the war in Iraq. This is not the place for a political debate, though I'd be happy to have one, but I'm sure Brian Turner and many other soldiers in Iraq have experienced a lot of frustration and similar problems with the government. Hemingway would hate the current government.
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AlexisB
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 10:25am | IP Logged Quote AlexisB

I think considering whether or not Hemingway's characters in The Sun Also Rises is a very interesting thought.  You would think that characters constantly in action would fit the post-modern, "Superman" type of hero definition.  I think today's society (as exemplified in the song "Heros" by David Bowie that we studied recently) often associates heros as people of action.  However, Hemingway's characters do not do anything of importance.  Their lives seem to have little meaning.  They drink, love, resent, insult, laugh, cry, yell, and sleep.  Their actions extend very little beyond these verbs.  They are not doing for others, they are not performing feats of strength, and they hardly have any moral values, as most heros do.  One example of totally immoral behavior is Brett's affair with Cohn and love for Jake.  These factors interfere constantly with her realationship with Mike.  This puts Mike on edge, leading him to immoral behavior.  He feels as if he needs to constanly insult Cohn.  When Mike's social saobtage of Cohn reaches a climax, he asks Cohn why he doesn't know when he isn't wanted.  Perhaps, however, Mike is actually asking himself this; when should he give up on Brett, who obviously doesn't want him?

There is one chacter, however, in The Sun Also Rises that is comparable to a hero- Romero.  He is the only character that has a true emotional passion for his life.  He is a genuinely, purely talented bull-fighter who loves his job.  What are the other characters but single drunks searching for true love and happiness?

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kristined
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 10:40am | IP Logged Quote kristined

So here are some random thoughts.

Maybe a hero shouldn't be limited to the definition of having noble qualities like bravery and strength. Some of you are saying that just by doing things, one cannot be considered a hero. But why not? Who says you have to save lives or make the world a better place? I think that by doing what makes you happy, in a way, makes you your own hero.

Mrs Weisgerber wrote:

Back to Campbell.  Remember one of Otto Rank's qualifications for the world archetype is that the hero "surrenders himself to the water, usually in a box."  We can make a broad interpretation of this.  It's how Napoleon Dynamite fits the paradigm... albeit via gatorade.  Cheers! 

So the characters in TSAR are always seen drinking some wine, representing some kind of upbringing or way of life. They are out and about, socializing, partying, having a grand ole time. You know that “Live life to the fullest” saying. Maybe this way of living is fulfilling for them. If I could one day live like that, experiencing different cultures and countries, meeting diverse people, having not a care in the world, I would certainly feel accomplished. It reminds me of The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield. After reading that book, it made me feel like just giving up, but in a good way. We consider Holden a hero because of his rebelliousness, like the archetypical Romantic. He just wants to live his life on his own terms, and to me, it’s a little inspiring. That’s what I think the characters of TSAR are doing, and I believe that is what makes them heroes.

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AlexisB
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 10:42am | IP Logged Quote AlexisB

http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ltg/projects/jtap/tutorials/intro/o wen/

If you follow this link and scroll down to Wilfred Owen's poem Disabled, you will find that this poem draws a strong parallel to Jake how he must feel about his injury.  Hemingway, with his extremely brief, verb-filledsentences does not portray emotions very well at all.  However, Owen's poetic language perfectly portrays the sorrows of a wounded veteran.  Although the wound of the soldier in Owen's poem is very different from that of Jake's, both soldiers experience the same loss of romantic relationships and a sense of depressing withdrawal.  The following stanza of Owen's poem is an excellent exhibit of a wounded soldier's romantic wants:

About this time Town used to swing so gay
When glow-lamps budded in the light blue trees,
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim, –
In the old times, before he threw away his knees. (10)
Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls' waists are
, or how warm their subtle hands.
All of them touch him like some queer disease.

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Sonal P
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 10:43am | IP Logged Quote Sonal P

I think most of Hemingway's main characters can be termed  "heroes." Basically, they all lead meaningless lives with much "action," if you can even call it that; however, I can't excuse Robert Cohn for the life he lives. All of the main characters encountered in the novel have suffered the effects of war except for Cohn. These people have seen death from an inch away, and obviously, it leaves a long-term psychological impact. Can any of you imagine trying to lead a normal life after a war like WWI? Just having the courage to live after the war is a form of heroism in itself. How can we expect these characters to lead worthy lives? Their emotions are gone, completely destroyed. The only person who has passion and feeling is Cohn because he was not a war veteran. Though he has the potential to live a life of importance and do something worthwhile, he chooses not to. Therefore, he is not a hero. The others are just living, and to me, it takes much strength to live when there's nothing to live for. The war made them realize that an individual can't do anything better in life after serving in the war. I mean really, what can they do?

                ~SoNaL~

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kevinf
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 10:45am | IP Logged Quote kevinf

Jake T wrote:
Sure, Thoreau says to live life to the fullest, but drinking every night, partying, and conflicting to me isn't really living life, let alone being a hero.

I agree completely with this interpretation; despite the fact that heroes are often associated with action whereas average people are filled with inaction; what the action is is just as important if not more so than simply the action itself.

I also agree with his interpreation that heroes are heroes because they know and understand that what they are doing is noble and just, and not simply living in the moment and doing what feels right in that particular period of time. I think that even the average joe does more thinking than the Jake in the novel does on a regular basis. In order to be considered a hero, one must at least surpass the classification of the average joe.

In order to be a hero, one must be wise with money and only spend it on important things, in my opinion. Also, one must only live within one's means and not have any debt, for debt indicates a lack of wisdom, one of the main qualities a hero must possess.



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Justin P
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 11:30am | IP Logged Quote Justin P

Hemingway portrays his characters has heroes in a more natural and unconciousl manner that is based on psychology.

This can all be traced back to Freud's theories (which are actually not false if you know what you are talking about) in the early 1900s.  His student in psychoanalysis was Otto Rank, who is the myth guy.  Basically, this guy paralleled the psycologocial development of children to myths and heroes in our society and past ones (such as the Greeks).  This guy said that ALL people undergo an Oedipus Complex as children (this is somewhat true, but he completely exaggerated), where you don't have a place between your father and mother, and so fantasize about being with one of them and defeating the other (not actually wanting to do it; its just an unconcious feeling).  Thus, the relationships with family members change as kids to find their place in their family and the world, and also get heir independence from their parents.  After idealizing ones parents, children realize that they are not perfect, and become slightly disspapointed in them (this supposedly causes them to fantasize about getting rid of one of them).

the aspects of a hero

  1. the hero's descent from noble, powerful parents
  2. his exposure in a river, in a box
  3. his being raised by lowly prents
  4. his return to his first parents
  5. punishment of the first parents
  6. acknowledgement of the hero by the father
  7. the hero's being honored.

Through these struggles and interactions, children create heroes.  Since the child ussually resents the power his parents have over him, the hero's task is to overpowering the parents. This is why all great hero myths are about a hero defeating an oppresive power.

These ideas of heroes are added to the culture when the child grows up, defining myths as these psycological situations.  These unconcious represntations of our struggle as children create the hero myths

http://www.bsu.edu/classes/magrath/305f02/Rank1.html

The most important part of this whole thing is that we idealize ourselves through our own conception of the hero.  This conception is the Ego (a part of our pschological basis that is our Rational thought.  This is again Freud's theory.  The other part of our psycological basis is the Super Ego, which is the conciounce; it supresses all impulses, such as sex and anger and killing your parents and taking the role of your father).  Thus, the Hero is whatever way you idealize yourself on an unconcious level through rational thought.

With the idea of "surrenders himself to the water, usually in a box." the water represents the unconcious of a hero.  He submerges himself in it and reflects upon his unconcious (what goes on that you cannnot readily reflect upon, so why we do stuff that we don't understand) and who he truely is.  Thus, he is being reborn (this is also kind of the way Freud tried to treat patients).

All of the characters of Hemingway go through this Self-Reflection, especially Jake, and realize certain things about themselves (just as with Holden or Nick).  Their Drinking and Fishing and Going to Bull Fights is what they perceive as heroes, because after the war, they are their own heroes.  Whatever they do, they rationally want to do and have reason for doing so.  They are on a quest for whatever they are doing (their actions).  To them, there is no desire to defeat an oppressive force, what they want to do is their own definition of a hero.  After they war, there is no fantasy to "defeat their parents or an oppressive force", they have already done it.  Therefore, they ARE HEROES BECAUE THEY ARE INCONTROL of their EGO or Rational thought.

-justin



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