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Mrs Weisgerber
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Posted: 28 November 2005 at 8:17pm | IP Logged Quote Mrs Weisgerber

The topic seems a bit exhausted. If there is nothing new and interesting to
add, take it in a new direction!
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BryanK
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Posted: 28 November 2005 at 8:21pm | IP Logged Quote BryanK

After reading all of the posts, I have gained great insight to the novel.  I don't even think Hemingway was aware of the parallel between bullfighting and Jake's life that Rob pointed out, but I'm sure he'll take credit for it.

I agree with most people that Jake and Brett will always be friends, but that they will never be lovers because of Jake's injury.  Moreover, I think that the injury has an emotional effect on both characters, which accounts for Brett's feeling that she can never love him because he cannot fulfill her needs and for Jake's feeling of subordinance in regard to relationships with women.

I believe that though the characters in the novel do understand each other, they can not get past their personal mishaps and therefore come to disregard the feelings of others.  Though Jake knows that Brett can never truly love him, he can not get over his physical limitations enough to realize that there is no chance of a deeper relationship between them.  Similarly, Brett can not get over her desire for being permiscuous enough to truly love one man.

I agree with all of those who said that Jake pays for everything because he feels indebted to them.  I believe that Hemingway meant for this debt to stem from the war and Jake's physical castration.  In doing so, he made World War I symbolic of not only Jake's physical calamity, but his emotional ones as well.  He shows that the effects of war linger well after it is over, and that they come to control peoples' personal lives and their relationships with others.

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brittanyd
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Posted: 28 November 2005 at 9:10pm | IP Logged Quote brittanyd

 

I feel Jake wants to pay his own way so that he will not seem so inept.  He wants to keep his independence and make it known that he does not need someone to support him.  He already feels incompotent enough with his war injury.  This way he can at least hold on to some of the mascuinity he feels he has lost. 

If the novel were to continue I do not think Brett and Jake would get together.  Their relationship would probably remain mostly the same.  Brett likes playing games and is not into huge committments, especially after her last marriage, that is why she has so many affairs.  Jake is very self conscious right now and the two of them would not work out very well.

As for Jake's injury I think it is a bit of both.  The injury is a reminder of the war and the pain that it caused him and because of it Jake will never forget for a second what happened.  Also the injury serves as what the war does.  It leaves anyone involved injuried or hurt either physically, emotionally, or physcologically.  Nobody walks away from it without having their lives changed and that is what the war and the injury did to Jake.

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Matt B
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Posted: 28 November 2005 at 9:51pm | IP Logged Quote Matt B

Jake feels the need to pay for everything because he has an inferiority complex. The source of this complex is his war injury, which causes him to be sexually incapable. Because of this, he cannot have a real relationship with Brett, the woman he loves, and this makes him feel especially inferior to other men. As a result, he tries to make up for it in other areas, especially in finances. He wants to feel responsible and more like a man.

The main characters really don't know each other well at all. They barely learn anything about each other and they rarely talk about themselves. They just maintain tenuous relationships with each other; their only real bond is some shared interests or professions and a love for getting drunk. Another central element in keeping them together is Brett. Because Cohn, Jake, and Mike all want to be with Brett, they follow her around. As she moves around, they move with her.

If the novel were to continue, I believe Jake and Brett might stay friends, and perhaps dabble in some real relationships, but none of them would really pan out. Even if Jake and Brett feel an emotional bond to each other, the very nature of Brett and her personality will not be able to overcome Jake's problem.

Jake's injury is both a result of the war and a symbol of the war. In the literal sense, it is a result of the war. Metaphorically, it represents some consistent feelings of the U.S. in general. One consistent element of our country has been a constant need to prove ourselves, to be competent, and to be the best. Besides the political motivations for war, there is always an underlying feeling of inadequacy, of debilitation; a strong desire to show some muscle to the rest of the world. It is purely human nature. We'd like to think that this isn't a factor in deciding to make war or peace, but it is, and Jake's injury is a representation of that, the American psyche.
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RobertC
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Posted: 28 November 2005 at 10:13pm | IP Logged Quote RobertC

            While looking for some literary analysis on Jake's ambition to pay and act responsibly with his debts, I came upon a very interesting site. Check out http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_H.html ! The site has a whole list of literary terms, and one of these called the "Hemingway Code" has a lot to do with what everyone has been talking about on this post.

             According to this site:

                          Hemingway's protagonists are usually "Hemingway Code Heroes," i.e., figures who try to follow a hyper-masculine moral code and make sense of the world through those beliefs. Hemingway himself defined the Code Hero as 'a man who lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage and endurance in a world that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful.

             While Hemingway has implanted his code hero in many of his stories, Jake is definitely his code hero of The Sun Also Rises. The site goes on to write about seven characteristics of a Hemingway Code Hero, but the first one is most important to Jake's "insistence on paying his way, getting the tab, paying for what he's responsible for?" A hero following this characteristic measures himself against the challenges life sends his way by acting responsibly and honestly even though in the end, all "mortals" will fail.

             The Hemingway hero "typically has some sort of physical or psychological wound symbolizing his tragic flaw or the weaknesses of his character, which must be overcome before he can prove his manhood." As many posters have already said, Jake was injured in war leaving him impotent. Jake's "physical wound" can not be overcome! Life has sent him a huge challenge through war that he was not able to meet. Jake has to live the rest of his life carrying this physical wound. So how does Jake show that he is still a masculine man worthy of the appreciation of others? Throughout the novel, Jake pays for cab rides and dinner with Brett, fishing trips, journeys to the country, bull fighting, and refuses to accept any loans. His honesty and initiative to always pay is his way of showing that he can still be masculine despite his physical limitations.

             Many scholarly websites talk about this Hemingway Code of Heroes, and I thought that it would be of some interest to posters on this board. It adds some more insight on what everyone has been saying about Jake's part in the novel.

 

             As far as Jake and Brett's relationship after the novel, I think that their relationship would become more distant. Brett is not the easiest woman to please and Jake knows that he would never be able to go further with her. His injury due to the war is not something that Brett would particularly appreciate in a relationship, to say the least (as she takes interest in "sleeping around" as it is). To have a commitment with someone she couldn't even have sex with, in the first place, spells out "DISASTER" for a possible Jake and Brett relationship.

            

             I wonder who Hemingway's other Code Heroes are in his multitude of writing and how they are similar to Jake.

 

.

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jeremyc
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Posted: 28 November 2005 at 11:00pm | IP Logged Quote jeremyc

A new direction? Can do.

Perhaps, maybe, in just a small way, Hemingway is expression his opinion of himself and his (lost) generation through his characters. Maybe the shallowness of Brett - the incapability to love, the way that she treats Cohn - as compared to the relative complexity of Jake, with his psychological injuries and deeper emotional ties to people is a subconscious cry. Hemingway himself abandoned his former friend Del Passo for a shallow reward - or at least, a reward shallower than friendship. Could Jake be his ideal, his wish to be something more than the Brett? Brett could be portrayed as beautiful because the society (any society, really) thinks itself so, while Jake has his own handsome qualities, but is not as extolled as Brett.

If such is the case, then no, the union can never work between them. A Brett society has no room for a Jake, even if a Jake can not leave the Bretts alone. Jake's injury is more than an issue of the war - the war is most likely just an excuse for him to have this injury. Rather, the loss to him represents Hemingway's own ambivalence about the topic - Jake may be his ideal, yes, but there are still flaws in this picture of him. It could be that the injury simply represents Henmingway's unwillingness to be a Jake - an excuse, saying that being a Jake is hard. It is hard to be a Jake, certainly. Hemingway is saying that it is too hard through that imagery.

Finally, the question of Jake's paying his way. Well, if all of the above is true, then the answer to this is simple. Shallow Bretts, and most of the rest of the characters in the book for that matter, don't mind letting other people pay for them because they don't have the moral depth to care, like the disillusioned 'lost generation'. His ideal Jake, though - he cares. He is a person caring enough to fulfill his duties and be courteous to the people along the way.

In conclusion, Jake is not a person - he is an ideal. And neither is Brett - but instead of the ideal, she is the reality.

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ChineduJ
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Posted: 28 November 2005 at 11:50pm | IP Logged Quote ChineduJ

Hold on a second jeremy, i want to state my opinion on the topic already discussed. My opinions seem to deviate from the rest of our class (the next response, not this one)

Its easy to see that Brett and Jake will never be more than friends. The last thing Brett says in the novel is how she thinks if they had ended up together things would have been wonderful. This comment sounds great, but they both know that their relationship will not go beyond friendship. Brett needs sex and Jake cannot fulfill her carnal desires. And to comment on what Paulina said earlier about Brett and Jake having a give and take relationship… Jake says he actually feels like he is benefiting from the relationship more than Brett. I don’t agree with Jake, but I do feel that they have a give and take relationship. Brett comes into the situation with baggage from prior relationship failures, while Jake has plenty of empathy, patience, and love. Brett brings her friendship and that is enough for Jake. He is content with thier relationship for the most part because he knows Brett loves him and no one can take that away from him.

Finally, is Jake’s injury a symbol of war or a result of war? My rebuttal for that is the question, is the Lost Generation a symbol of the effects of war, or the result of war? The answer can be both depending on how you look at the question. But because saying both is not really answering the question, I chose to say that Jake’s injury is a result of war. Everyone generally believes that war is negative, and that it leaves harmful effects on those engaged in the struggle. Hemingway chose to make Jake’s impediment from war physical, whereas the rest of his characters have no obvious war scar on their person. The rest of his characters for the most part end up in a worse situation than Jake, even though they do not have physical scars. (This might mean Hemingway is saying that those suffer physical ailments from war are lucky in comparison to those with physiological impediments.) Brett is no longer engaged, Cohn has retreated back to Paris (and is probably still heartbroken over his ordeal), Mike happens to get more drunk and belligerent more frequently at the end of the novel and he is also not engaged anymore. I cannot remember what happened to Bill, but that might not even matter because I remember him saying he was never in the war. He was talking to Mike about the running of the bulls and Mike said it lasted about 15 minutes while Bill said it felt like two hours because he has not experienced real fright (war) firsthand… (Page 204)
!!
(Bill probably represents the average man at home, hearing about the war from radios and friends, instead of fighting in the actual war. He is always sticking up for Mike, a war veteran, and saying people have no right to treat him poorly. For example, on page 208, Bill says no one has the right to say anything bad about Mike. There are a few more instances where Bill says this too…. But back to the main issue at hand…)


Jake’s injury affects/effects him mentally, socially, and physically. Most people believe Jake has an inferiority complex, which would be a mental problem. Jake cannot marry the woman he loves due to his castration, which is a social problem due to a physical problem. All of these effects stem from war. But.. as i stated before, this can be interpreted as: Jake's injury is a symbol of war because it entails the mental social and physical impediments of war.

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ChineduJ
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Posted: 29 November 2005 at 12:15am | IP Logged Quote ChineduJ

Jake’s philosophy on paying the tab, in my opinion, is clearly stated on page 152 of Hemingway’s novel. Jake explicitly states that he pays the tab in order to get his money’s worth. It is plain and simple.  Jake feels that in order to enjoy himself, he needs to pay. The mode of that payment, in his opinion, is through learning, experiencing, or by money. I realize that what was just stated is probably confusing, but to my defense, Jake was recuperating from a night of drinking, so maybe his thoughts were not as coherent as could be. Basically Jake believes that one has to learn how to live life, and there are consequences for everything you do. In order to get the full measure of your experience, you have to get your money’s worth. And, in turn, if you enjoy something, you must pay. Actually, you can read the text and decide for yourself:

"I thought I had paid for everything. Not like the woman pays and pays and pays. No idea of retribution or punishment. Just exchange of values… You paid someway for everything that was any good. I paid my way into enough things that I liked, so that I had a good time. Either you paid by learning about them, or by experience, or by taking chances, or by money. Enjoying living was learning to get your money’s worth and knowing when you had it. You could get your money’s worth. The world was a good place to buy in. "(Page 152)

So, just to iterate (and that is a word), Jake pays for everything because he feels that in life you must pay for everything that you enjoy. Paying gives him the satisfaction that he has taken something valuable from the experience. I am not so sure that there is a hidden meaning between the lines, but then again, it is only my opinion. I believe the real question is why does Jake feel the need to pay for everything he enjoys? Why does every good thing in life have to have consequences, in his opinion? Why does he feel the need to buy happiness, or rather that money can buy happiness?

 

These characters do know each other pretty well I believe. Everyone knows that Mike is a bad drunk, has bad war experience, and has a problem with Cohn hanging around Brett after the affair. Everyone knows that Brett has an insatiable need for sex and (the consoling) alcohol above all else. It is well known that Jake cannot have sex because of his war injury, and that he loves Brett and the life of bullfighters. Bill loves fishing, bullfighting, etc. We all know the characters as much as they know each other in my opinion. So, saying that you do not think the characters know each other is saying you do not know the characters. Basically, everyone tries to drown themselves in alcohol because the world becomes prettier: character flaws disappear (excluding Mike), tensions are swept under the table (excluding mike), and the hopelessness of life seems to vanish like thin wasps of smoke. The only real character that does not fit into my generalization is Cohn. Sure, he has an inferiority complex, like everyone else in this novel, but alcohol does not tempt him. I don’t really know Cohn at all except that I know he is desperately searching for someone or something to fill the void in his heart. He is looking for love in all the wrong places. Sex does not equal love when it comes to Brett, unfortunately for him. And of course, the man difference between him and the others, not including him being a Jewish man, is the fact that he does not foolishly hide behind alcohol.

“It was like certain dinners I remember from the war. There was much wine, an ignored tension, and a feeling of things coming that you could not prevent happening. Under the wine I lost the disgusted feeling and was happy. It seemed they were all such nice people.” (Page 150)

If you want a new topic, I have a few... Why is Mike so conserned about paying his tab? I think he has the greatest inferiority complex of all the characters, do you agree?

For example, Mike drinks the most, he is the only one called a bad drunk, and he is a bankrupt who feels the need to pay his tab (page 196).

What do you think the effects of the war are on [character of your choice] and do you think that person's problem is physical, mental, social, or even a combination?


Edited by ChineduJ on 29 November 2005 at 12:32am


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lindsayk
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Posted: 29 November 2005 at 12:34am | IP Logged Quote lindsayk

As everyone has stated, i believe Jake's reason for always picking up the tab is to prove his worth as a man. He struggles with this throughout the novel, becoming extremely frustrated that he cannot be with Brett. However, paying the bill is seen as a man's job, which he gladly does.

The characters all have something in common which ties them together: the war has kind of sucked the life out of them. They can all sympathize and relate to one another, but I wouldn't say any of them really understand or know the rest.

Concerning Brett and Jake's future together, they'll remain friends, but of course nothing more. Although Jake loves her, Brett must express her "love" physically, which he cannot. Then again, Brett is mostly incapable of loving anyone for more than superficial reasons. This is what, among other things, prevented the two from having an actual relationship. It's ironic how the novel ends right where it began, again showing their relationship will not go any further.

Finally, Jake's injury is a symbol of the war. Sure, the physical pain is there without a doubt, but his castration affects him emotionally more than anything else. It is the in injury that prevents him from doing everything he wants, and which will stay with him the rest of his life. Just like his injury, the war has rendered him useless. He'll have to face that for the rest of his life.
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fredp
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Posted: 29 November 2005 at 4:10pm | IP Logged Quote fredp

Mike seems to take solace in his self-image of struggling through his bankruptcy, carrying on in spite of the unfairness of it all. Again and again he says he was brought to bankruptcy by men who he thought were friends and not for any real fault of his own. Even so, he continues to act like this will have no effect on him; he'll just shrug it off. He find the image romantic- that this sodier from the war would be reduced to such lows by bad chance and still have the ability to continue living. He even goes so far as to be cavalier about the whole situation. In that sense, he is somewhat like Jake- they both were made less due to unfortunate circumstances, and try to ignore it by laughing it off. But unlike Jake, he has no job to rely on; instead, he relies on drinking even more heavily than the others.
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