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Group Read Discussions > The Sun Also Rises - Spoilers

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10125 comments Mod
Go ahead - spoil me! I dare ya'


message 2: by Catie (new)

Catie (nematome) I am very excited to read this again! I first read it at age 15 (almost 15 years ago) and I loved it, but I probably (read: definitely) missed out on a lot of the subtext. Can't wait to see what my near 30 year old brain makes of it!


message 3: by Rosanna (new)

Rosanna (rosannabell) | 125 comments My thoughts on the novel:

A tale of repression, inaction, and disillusionment

The novel is about a disillusioned group of expatriates who day after day go out in
search of a party, so that they do not have to confront their inner turmoil when left alone.
When Jake sees Brett—the woman he loves—with other men, he passively goes along with the situation; it is only at night that his true emotions come out: “This was Brett, that I felt like crying about. Then I thought of her walking up the street and stepping into the car . . . and of course in a little while I felt like hell again. It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the day, but at night it is another thing” (Hemingway 42). This shows that in the day he might be able to mask his pain—with drinks and friends—but at night his tortured soul makes itself known. However, the revelations of the night before are quickly shoved under the rug and the next day or week the cycle repeats itself. He does not even try to get Brett for himself; he acts like the battle has already been lost and that any future actions he might take would be utterly futile.
Jake does not suffer alone. All the characters in the book act like fate has been decided for them and remain compliant in nature. Cohn the Jew—always the outsider, even in his own country—perhaps suffers the most acutely. He desperately wants to find a place of acceptance and belonging, and is disillusioned into thinking that South America holds his answers. Jake tries to talk sense into him saying, “Robert going to another country doesn’t make any difference. I’ve tied all that. You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. . . . If you went there the way you feel now it would be exactly the same” (19). He clings the hardest to his affection for Brett, because for once someone chose to be with him and he cannot fathom that it was not real. He pathetically follows Brett and Mike around like an affectionate puppy trying to get a moment of attention, which becomes incredibly annoying to the reader.
Brett is not a likeable character. She causes most of the pain and suffering of the men by toying with their hearts’ and causes bitterness and conflict among them. You could say she was an early proponent of sexual liberation and femininity, however, that doesn’t really describe her character because she often relies on men to pick up the pieces. Throughout the book she is such a pitiable, broken thing that regrets not making things work with Jake. Therefore she is not a strong female character.
All in all the plot was a little dry with endless drinking and partying. None of the characters seem to need to work, so it was a bit infuriating listening to them complain bitterly about their lives. But as my friend pointed out, it is important to remember the context of the novel and how everyone was so disillusioned after the war that productivity, change, and hope seemed pointless. I thought the bull fighting and the bull fighters themselves were highly entertaining and symbolic; Romero represents the invincible, youth full of hope and wonder, while Belmonte full of bitterness and disillusionment represents old age. I thought Jake and Brett’s relationship was touching at times, but could have been developed more. As far as style I prefer more complex sentence structure and language then Hemingway’s work but I recognize his talent for the written word.


message 4: by Dani (new)

Dani (The Pluviophile Writer) (pluviophilewriter) | 237 comments Something about bull fighting, drinking and being drunk and a bunch of guys in love with the same skank. I think I've read technical documents more interesting than this novel. Hemingway, I am disappointed.


message 5: by Tanya (aka ListObsessedReader) (last edited Jan 18, 2011 12:09AM) (new)

Tanya (aka ListObsessedReader) (listobsessed) | 317 comments This book is on the 25 Books to Read Before Age 25 list I am currently working on, so I was pleased that this came up as a group read.

The reason given for its status as one of the 25 books is:
"The Sun Also Rises is Hemingway’s classic about a man who lost his, ahem, reason to live in World War I and his Lost Generation buddies on a trip to Pamplona, Spain, to witness the annual bullfights. Marked by Hemingway’s wonderful prose, this book is less about plot and more about finding a reason to live in a world where people are cruel and life is unfair."


I listened to an audiobook version, narrated by William Hurt. Whilst I got more used to it over time I think something in the narrators slow laborious reading style coupled with Hemingway's prose didn't quite work for me. That being said some of his character voices were quite good. I especially enjoyed his Scotting accent for Mike when he was drunk (which I guess was most of the time). Largely though I found my mind wandering whilst listening. I think I would actually like to 'read' the book someday and see whether reading it myself makes a difference.


message 6: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmckeejr) At the time I read this, which was 3 years ago now, I remember being impressed w/ it, and sympathetic to the main character because while Lady Brett was, as was said, a "skank', I can sympathize w/ Jake because there are some people that you shouldn't allow yourself to like/fall in love w/, yet you find yourself helpless to prevent it. In that, I really thought the situation and novel rang true to life.

But, removed from the moment, while I can still sympathize, I've since read more of Hemingway's short stories and find them a lot more enjoyable, both in tone, scenes, and characters. I've read in several books and on several academic websites that The Sun Also Rises is considered, nowadays, to be Hemingway's primary novel in terms of influence, yet his short stories, taken as a whole, are still as influential as ever. Having now compared them both, I think I agree w/ that assessment.


message 7: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Librarian (ellenlibrarian) I'm about halfway through the book but my big problem with it so far is that I don't "get" what is so alluring about Brett. Since nothing much happens, I've got to rely on the characters. I think Robert and Jake are somewhat interesting but since Brett drives the action (at least so far), I need her to be more interesting and compelling.


message 8: by Carly (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 220 comments I'm different than other readers, I guess - I usually don't like Hemingway, but I liked this one.


message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol I finally read the book. I like Hemingway. This book takes place after WWI. It was when Hemingway was developing into a novelist from Journalism. The writing style was different for the time. He kept it soo abbreviated, many did not like it. It was like you were listening in on various conversations.

I understood the saying "living lives with a quiet desperation. To me that is what they all were doing. Trying to forget the war years with booze and frivolity. They were not successful I would say.

I could see from Hemingway's character's he drew a lot from his experiences in Spain and Paris after the war. It was a bunch of expatriates living and writing in foreign places. I found it interesting that Hemingway wrote about the herd of bulls and steers. Jake likened his friends to a herd also. They were a herd of cattle being steered by their own quiet desperations.

You either like Hemingway or you don't. He writes about a mans world and how they interact with each other. His characters are not always kind to the women folk in his books.


message 10: by Erin (new)

Erin Dani - ha! We read this for my book club last year and let's say it was not a hit -- people were willing to consider maybe another title to see what the appeal is.... but it didn't work for me either.


message 11: by Karina (new)

Karina Ok, so I finally got around to reading the book and finished it in a few days time. I like Hemingway but I feel that the morally bankrupt Brett along with Jake's inactions really makes me want to shake these people. I do not understand WHY everyone thinks Brett is this alluring goddess, when she just on the ho stroll. She is engaged to be married to Mike Campbell (who also has issues of his own) but gets on with Cohn and strings Jake along (which he allows her too). Jake even mentions when he is sending his telegraph that Brett came down with one man, Jake introduced her to another, and she just comes back to him! Why is Jake bothering? It beats me, because for whatever reason Brett gets around but everyone is in love with her. She must have tiger blood or something because she is obviously winning, with all of these men wanting her, duh!


message 12: by Carly (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 220 comments Still on this one, eh? Seems like a million years ago we did this one.

Yeah . . . when Hemingway does female characters, he rarely gives them solid personalities. You rarely see his women as having done anything really important in this world - they're there for the explicit purpose of entertaining the male characters.

But, although I don't care for the author's work, because of this trait, I truly DID enjoy this one.

I got a kick out of the eating and drinking that went on - seemed every time I clicked into my audio version, somebody was wining and dining.


message 13: by Carly (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 220 comments Still on this one, eh? Seems like a million years ago we did this one.

Yeah . . . when Hemingway does female characters, he rarely gives them solid personalities. You rarely see his women as having done anything really important in this world - they're there for the explicit purpose of entertaining the male characters.

But, although I don't care for the author's work, because of this trait, I truly DID enjoy this one.

I got a kick out of the eating and drinking that went on - seemed every time I clicked into my audio version, somebody was wining and dining.


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