Masculinity In The Sun Also Rises

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What it means to be a man and what a man is in the literal sense are quite contrasting. It is difficult to constantly fit everyone into strict social roles such that individuals are supposed to carry themselves in a certain way throughout life depending on their gender. In Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises, it is clear that there is a code for being a man, not just on the physical level but on emotional and psychological levels as well. Up until the First World War, soldiers were often romanticized as men full of courage, power and honor. However, the reality of war was a stark contrast to those romantic ideals. Trench fighting, bombings and poisonous gas destroyed the glorification of the men fighting in the war and many of the “Lost Generation,” as Hemingway…show more content…
Jake is an American World War I veteran who suffered a serious injury during combat. For Jake, this injury extends beyond the physical impairment and leaves him emotionally scarred as well. Furthermore, it is hinted at numerous times that said injury has caused Jake to be impotent. The man Jake was before the war is not the man he recognizes himself as now. Thus, Jake’s injury is of utmost importance in relation to his own masculinity such that it never allows him to achieve a romantic relationship with the one woman he truly loves, Brett Ashely. However, as social roles and positions began to shift within society, previously defined masculine traits were beginning to be identified within women as well. Gender roles began to outgrow their defined categories and women broke free from the shackles that had been placed upon them by men. By redefining femininity, masculinity utterly changed as a reaction to these new developments and abilities of women to engage in similar tasks that their male counterparts were involved in. Therefore, this broad theme of weakened masculinity emerges while the recurring motif of a strong woman dominating a weak man reinforces Hemingway’s “man code”

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