The Sun Also Rises

I’ve tried to like Hemingway. I read “A Farewell to Arms” in high school and didn’t care for it. Yesterday I went to the library and checked out “The Sun Also Rises.” Who am I to say Ernest Hemingway is no good? I gave him another try.

I probably wouldn’t have finished the book except that it’s short and reads fast. Ah, yes. Short, declarative sentences and tough, terse prose. So it’s easy to read. That doesn’t mean I want to read it. I found “The Sun Also Rises” dry, mundane, and generally pointless. It became my personal duty to finish the thing. Perhaps there would be a profound meaning if I kept on. I finished the book around 2:45 a.m.

The New York Times quote on the back cover called it “a truly gripping narrative.” Am I missing something? I knew that things wouldn’t work out nicely for the characters, which would be fine if it upset me. But it didn’t. I could care less what happened to any of them. I felt the same way about “A Farewell to Arms.” I am probably too ruined by the unrealistic romanticism of most other authors. Perhaps Hemingway is a bit too realistic for me. But I’ve met plenty of people in real life whose stories interest me far more than that of Brett Ashley and Jake Barnes.

My opinion doesn’t hold much weight. There are a great deal of people who disagree with me. Good for Mr. Hemingway. I would one day love to do what he did professionally. He started as a journalist and then became an incredibly successful novelist. He is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He took the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. I haven’t even succeeded at the journalist part yet. It is with great humbleness that I respectfully admit that I just don’t like his writing.

Next up is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera.” I read two of his novellas, “No One Writes to the Colonel” and “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” for a class in college. I didn’t actually finish either of them because I just couldn’t take anymore. Like Hemingway, Garcia Marquez was a journalist who went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Well, here we go.


About Nicole

Daughter of God, wife, mother, volunteer youth leader, substitute teacher, aspiring writer, rabbit owner, nature lover. These are some of my titles.
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4 Responses to The Sun Also Rises

  1. piggyy says:

    Ha Hemingway is to women what Jane Austen is to men.

    Hemingway’s strength is his ability to accurately depict men and what they desire to be. His novels are hero novels. The Sun Also Rises was his first novel and it paints an interesting picture of Pamplona, but Hemingway’s male hero concept comes across more in Death in the Afternoon, For whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewall to Arms, and The Old Man and the Sea

    I think what’s hardest for women to understand is the concept that the ideal male hero must see the world, fall in love and suffer in order to help others… a lot. A man who works a 9-5 job and raises fat grandchildren and never faces adversity can’t be a hero. Men should always be objective, rational and forward minded. An emotional and selfish man can never be a hero. Hemingway writes about the tolls of heroism.

    This literary concept goes back to before the biblical story of Christ to stories of Hercules and Achilles in Greek literature.

    In all cases the heroes die in the end to show there is no challenge they won’t face.

    I hope this helps you understand men and Hemingway better and I’d appreciate if you could explain Jane Austen to me. I’ve never been able to make it through two pages of her work.

  2. FleaStiff says:

    Remember what famed author Mickey Spillane said when an interviewer in Chicago asked on the air “Did you read the Hemingway piece about you?”.
    Mickey Spillane replied: “Hemingway who?”

    Mickey Spillane had said that America always sells more salted peanuts than caviar and considered his paperback mysteries to be more valuable than Hemingway’s works. At the time each of Spillane’s seven books were on the Top Ten Best Sellers.

    I did like Hemingway’s diary entry about Key West though: Got drunk last night on Absinthe and started throwing knives.

  3. I have never read any of Hemingway’s other stuff, but I have read this. Like you, I didn’t find it that ‘gripping’ and the only reason I read it through to the end was because I was writing about it as part of my dissertation.

    However, aside from the story itself, I did think thematically speaking there was loads in it. Not sure if I agree that “Hemingway is to women what Jane Austen is to men” (I actually hate Jane Austen, Emma is the most boring book ever written :)).

    I like the way women are portrayed in it – Brett has masculine traits and displays her sexual freedom, the men on the other hand are either impotent, financially dependent etc. I blogged about post-war gender blurring in The Sun Also Rises recently!

    I admire that you gave Hemingway another try – I have The Old Man and the Sea and just can’t bring myself to read it 🙂

  4. Nicole says:

    Interesting. I didn’t look at it that way. I found all the characters pathetic in different regards. Sure, Brett displays her sexual freedom, but she’s restless and unhappy and winds up needing Jake to come rescue her in the end. I guess for the time it was written she was a very independent woman.

    What was your dissertation about?

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