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The Sun Also Rises (Forum Locked Forum Locked)
 Ernest Hemingway Message Boards : The Sun Also Rises
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Candace E
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 12:54pm | IP Logged Quote Candace E

I almost feel like, who am I to decipher who in The Sun Also Rises is a "hero" or not.  However, it is a prompt so I see it only necessary to reply.  Looking at the novel as a whole, each character has both bad and good qualities.  For example, both Jake and Brett went through WWI and dealt with the everyday struggles.  It is true that they went downhill as the years went on, starting to drink and party more often with friends, however maybe these two characters were heroes for just a few moments, during that war.  This thought parallels the song called "Heroes" by David Bowie.  In his song he says, "Maybe we can be heroes, just for one day".  This might be the case in The Sun Also Rises.  These people were heroes for just a small amount of time, rather than life-long, well-known heroes. 

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Lori Z
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 12:58pm | IP Logged Quote Lori Z

I agree with Candace's ideas about comparing Hemingway's heroes to David Bowie's heroes in his song "Heroes" and also to Walt Whitman's heroes in his poem I Hear the Large Hearts of Heroes.  Maybe Jake and his friends are not heroes at this point in their lives, with all the partying, drinking, and fighting, but at some point I think they could be considered heroes.  Whitman and Bowie both felt that heroes could be created through their actions.  In Whitman's poem, the characters were considered heroes because they had proven themselves in action.  This is similar to Hemingway's characters may no longer be, but once were heroes because of their experiences during WWI.  
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michaelb
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 1:05pm | IP Logged Quote michaelb

I believe that Jake, Cohn, Brett, Bill, and Mike are certainly NOT heroes. Sure, these characters act. It is important to realize how they act: they are aimless creatures, not contributing to society. They drink, party, argue, bathe, and go to cafes. Throughout our study of American literature in the late 1800s-early 1900s, we have studied trends in American heroes: they are passionate, strong-willed, moody, rebellious, and they do acts that benefit other people in society. None of these characters possess any of these traits: they live for the sake of drinking alcohol. Towards the end of the novel, Hemingway introduces a new character: Romero. He is a bullfighter, respected by many characters in the book. Perhaps he is a hero: he is passionate about bullfighting, and he is strong-willed when he fights.

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lynnnjack
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 1:06pm | IP Logged Quote lynnnjack

Dominato per malum.

I agree with Spence's view. She wrote:

"Absolutely not! I think that the only character in The Sun Also Rises who even remotely "fights for what's right" is Pedro Romero.... Oh, it's so ridiculous how these people behave! They wake up at noon, drink outrageously, sleep, behave like animals, drink more, drink again, sleep--it's an endless cycle....There's no way that I would ever, ever want to compare these lost and confused characters to anyone truly deserving of being called 'heroic.'"

The characters in The Sun Also rises are all drunks, they are not sober even when they are not drinking. Hemingway's characters might have done heroic things in the past, but the life The Sun Also Rises presents to the reader shows no strand of heroism. They are not on any quest of any kind. The characters are on vacation for almost the entire book, and do not strive to do anything but visit different places and have a good time.

And yet they never have a goood time. Something always comes up to disturb things and people get hurt, physically or mentally. The characters do not stop to think about the affect there actions could have on others. No one acts in the book at all. the characters only react to the situations and people around them.

They are in a chain of drinking and living life in the fast lane, with many accidents on the way. Hemingway's characters are on a quest, it is a journey to live their post war lives recklessly, submit to weakness, and slay their own minds with spanish ale and wine from the royal pope.

A despicable lot Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises characters are. No one as uncaring as these lads deserve the title of hero. There is no fighting for what is right. But then again, that is relative. What is the right in this novel? What is the wrong? Is there any true battle or fray, whether it be physical or not, for something the characters are defending?

And do not even speak the word of virtue. The only 'courage' the characters have is the will to keep drinking and drinking. They are lucky they do not turn like the fat man on Constantine. The only 'courage' is the will to keep vacationing and partying like there is no tomorrrow.

There is no discipliine. The characters do whatever they like, not caring who is affected, as I ere stated. There seems to be no punishment for anything. And Brett is definately the free one, going around like a blissful strumpet to satisfy her despicable lustful needs. She did not care who knew about her deeds, or who she performed her deeds with.  And Jake did not even try to convince her otherwise.

What a sorry lot. War corrupted a half their minds, drinking corrupted the other.



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alyssao
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 1:11pm | IP Logged Quote alyssao

In response to Sonal's post:

I agree with her belief that Cohn is not a hero. He is not a war veteran like the rest of the characters, and therefore was never exposed to the brutality the others saw. Yet he lives a terrible life that involves little more than drinking and fighting. He has little reason to be so reckless. However, I do not agree that the rest of the characters are heroes. Yes, they've been through horrible situations and are scarred from the war. But that should not control their entire lives. The war should not stop them from "living" and cause them to drink their lives away. I completely understand that they have suffered, but they should not spend the rest of their lives depressed. While they can never forget the past, they can at least try to make things better and look on the brighter side of life. It just seems wrong to call someone who submits their whole life to a painful past, a hero. If they were heroes, I'm sure they could do more meaningful things with their lives.

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SamanthaF
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 1:16pm | IP Logged Quote SamanthaF

kristined wrote:

I think that by doing what makes you happy, in a way, makes you your own hero.... He [Holden Caulfield] 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.

I agree with kristine.  After the war, Jake returned and had to resume life as normal, and a lot of people in his life don't understand how difficult that was.  Jake could be his own hero by just living daily life.  Alcohol, albeit not the best solution in the world, gives him the strength to live day to day.  Brett, a constant part of his life, leads him to drink as he watches her go off with nineteen year old boys that he set her up with.  Even though he knows he can never be with Brett he still wants her to be happy, and in a way, isn't that noble? 

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RobertC
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 1:19pm | IP Logged Quote RobertC

Nice Candace! You are a hero for coming up with this connection. Essentially, this is a question of whether the heroes of The Sun Also Rises are lifelong heroes or heroes made because of a certain time in their lives. In The Sun Also Rises, Jake and all of his cronies including Mike, Bill, and Bret, drink to excess, party, and get into heated arguments. Their lives are aimless. Because of this, their actions really do not classify them as heroes in the post-World War I society in which the novel takes place.

However, I feel it is very important to consider what time frame of heroic deeds constitutes a hero. Stehpen Crane's work can help shed some light on this topic. In Cranes “A Mystery of Herioism,” Collins is described as a lifelong hero. He has struggled through subordination and mockery due to his fellow comrades, and because of it, he is a hero. In other words, he accomplishes heroic deeds throughout his lifetime. However, the characters in The Sun Also Rises, as Candace and Lori have alluded to, are heroes because the characters lived during the treacherous time of World War I (Jake and Cohn fought the bloody war, for instance). Therefore, Stephen Crane's view of the hero is a much different one. The characters of The Sun Also Rises are the heroes that David Bowie and Walt Whitman describe--heroes made by action at one point during their lives.  This one time in their existence made them heroes for the rest of their lives despite their current frame of mind.

 

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RTWilks
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 1:19pm | IP Logged Quote RTWilks

I would have to agree with the statement that there aren't typical heroes in this story besides Romero, as all other do nothing for others and very little for themselves. Whether it be the hero defined through David Bowie, or the seven characteristics Justin outlined, From Jake to Cohn none of them do anything that is worth mentioning to anyone, sitting around and drinking all day is not heroism, it is NOT showing their generation, they are NOT being a hero by just drinking and sleeping around. Other people who dont have all of this money can't just sit around and drink. WWI devasted them and the world, but life still goes on. They are just adding to the problem as they are certainly NOT part of the solution. It would disturb other in Europe who are struggling to eat and survive yet THESE people are heros?

 

Words

Out of us all
That makes rhymes,
Will you choose
Sometimes --
As the winds use
A crack in a wall
Or a drain.
Their joy or their pain
To whistle through --
Choose me,
You English words?

I know you:
You are light as dreams,
Tough as oak,
Precious as gold,
As poppies and corn
Or as an old cloak:
Sweet as our birds
To the ear,
As the burnett rose
In the heat
Of Midsummer:
Strange as the races
Of dead and unborn:
Strange and sweet
Equally,
And familiar,
To the eye,
As the dearest faces
That a man knows,
And as lost homes are:
But though older far
Than oldest yew, --
As our hills are, old, --
Worn new
Again and again,
Young as our streams
After rain:
And as dear
As the earth which you prove
That we love.

Make me content
With some sweetness
From Wales
Whose nightingales
Have no wings, --
From Wiltshire and Kent
And Herefordshire,
And the villages there, --
From the names, and the things
No less.
Let me sometimes dance
With you,
Or climb
Or stand perchance
In ecstacy,
Fixed and free
In a rhyme,
As poets do.

Edward Thomas (1878-1917)

Edward Thomas wrote this poem in 1916, this poem is not a depressing tale of heartbreak, angst, and disgust of the world, he somehow finds this way to show a good peaceful poem in this time of war, although he may not be considered a wwI poet, his work during the war while he was in it shows no praise of heroism of anyone, let alone rich young people.

 



Edited by RTWilks on 21 November 2005 at 1:21pm


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Nickd
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 1:20pm | IP Logged Quote Nickd

I think some people take the term hero far too literally. The First World War sparked the acceleration to create bigger and stronger weapons. They had machine guns, airplanes, zeppelins, and gas, which affected people on land. However, also submarines and U-boats also cause havoc on seas. Being a soldier you experience the many horrors of combat. I believe that Jake and his group cannot be considered heroes just because they went through this. They are considered heroes because they fought in this war and saw the horrific images but still managed to come back home and enjoy the many perks of life. To leave your family, friends, and life and go somewhere abruptly being very aware of the fact that you may never return is horrendous to even think of.  Maybe they do enjoy or “party” to an extreme but I do not blame them. Life’s too short.

“Live it up or give it up”                     

                        ~Tupac Shakur~

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/w1frm.htm



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PaulineB
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Posted: 21 November 2005 at 5:14pm | IP Logged Quote PaulineB

Nickd wrote:

I think some people take the term hero far too literally. The First World War sparked the acceleration to create bigger and stronger weapons. They had machine guns, airplanes, zeppelins, and gas, which affected people on land. However, also submarines and U-boats also cause havoc on seas. Being a soldier you experience the many horrors of combat. I believe that Jake and his group cannot be considered heroes just because they went through this. They are considered heroes because they fought in this war and saw the horrific images but still managed to come back home and enjoy the many perks of life. To leave your family, friends, and life and go somewhere abruptly being very aware of the fact that you may never return is horrendous to even think of.  Maybe they do enjoy or “party” to an extreme but I do not blame them. Life’s too short.

“Live it up or give it up”                     

                         ~Tupac Shakur~

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/w1frm.htm

 

Nick, these characters are heroes. I think Jake and the others should be called heroes, they went to war with the hope of ending all wars, and they did not end all wars. Living through hardships can name a person a hero.   Robert Cohn, did not fight in the war, therefroe his worthyness can be questioned.

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