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The Sun Also Rises Critical Essays On Antigone

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FREE Essay on Critical Analysis of The Sun Also Rises Critical Analysis of The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway is one of the pre-eminent works of modernist literature. It set the tone for the several decades of literature that was to follow. It delves deeply into the 'lost generation' that was created after the first wold war. A generation that lost any idealism that their predecessors had. A generation that lost any emotional attachment to the world around them. This is a trait that is predominant throughout Hemingway's novel as the narrator, Jake Barnes, remains clinically detached from the events that transpire around him.

Jake was an ambulance driver in the first world war and as with many of his peers, his experiences left him with a severe emotional disillusionment with the world as a whole. Not to mention the lack of functioning genitalia which certainly didn't help him identify positively with the world. Essentially, if it didn't involve Jake, he couldn't care less. For example, Jake watches a man get gored through the back by a stampeding bull and die, then waits for the rocket to go off signaling that the bulls were coralled and then simply walks off. He doesn't concern himself with the health of the (then) wounded man, he doesn't contemplate whether the running of the bulls was a worthwhile risk in the name of fun and games. He simply watches, then leaves without the slightest tint of subjectivity to his narrative. He remains perfectly objective, simply a watcher in the grand scheme of life.

And what does Jake watch exactly? He watches as everything goes around in circles, always ending up in the same place as it started. The group as a whole heads out drinking, only to wake up the next morning to repeat the process with nothing changed. Brett, although engaged to a man who loves her, is hopelessly in love with Jake. Jake is forced to watch as she passes along

from Mike, to Cohn, to Romero and then back to Mike before finally ending up right back where she

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Antigone essays Antigone

Antigone: Critical Essay Analysis

Various literary essays have been written with the intent to properly interpret the play Antigone. The opinions represented give insight into the plot layout, how the play flows, the characters’ strengths and weaknesses and of course critiques on how the central conflict is to be interpreted. Each critical essay gives strong arguments as to who is in the right and who is in the wrong regarding the controversy between Creon and Antigone.
Richard C. Jebb begins citing that the main conflict, divine law vs. human law, is the strength in the play. He states that the simple clarity of the plot is exemplified through the hearty conflict. Also, the constant drama holds interest well, right up to the climax. Jebb relates the play to the modern world, explaining how this particular conflict could potentially arise in any day in age. He goes on to say how the controversy is made very vivid thanks to the excellent character depiction of Creon and Antigone. In the end, Jebb tends to side with Antigone’s actions. He believes that she is wholly in the right and that in such a case, human law must yield, despite her reasoning being one-sided.
Maurice Bowra first states that modern critics have been jaded in their interpretation of Antigone since they have a lack of understanding about the duty of burying the dead and are too influenced by political authority, or, human law. He holds that Sophocles left no doubt about what conclusion should be drawn in the end. He believes Antigone was right and Creon was certainly in the wrong for his irreverence to the Gods. The Chorus speaks for Sophocles, says Bowra. The conflict, according to Bowra, built good contrast – the real arrogance of Creon vs. the apparent arrogance of Antigone. However, what matters more to him is the means by which the resolution to the conflict was reached. The presentation, the views that the readers take and the feelin.

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The Sun Also Rises Essay - The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises Essay - The Sun Also Rises

Jake Barnes, like nearly every other Hemingway hero, suffers from a terrible wound. His wound--he has suffered emasculation as a combatant in World War I--is emblematic of the sterility and impotence of modern man. Modern woman fares little better, as Hemingway shows in Brett Ashley, whose sexual excess is merely another form of sterility. These characters and their joyless friends live in a moral and cultural Waste Land, and indeed critics have discovered in this novel a prose analogue to T.S. Eliot’s poem of that title.

Hemingway is particularly harsh in his indictment of those who pretend that the old truths remain operative. Hence the stupidly romantic Robert Cohn, who makes trouble for himself and others by embracing an obsolete ethic of chivalry, becomes the book’s least attractive character.

Barnes salvages some dignity by his stoicism, but the only character who seems wholly admirable is the bullfighter, Pedro Romero, who has ordered his life by mastering a sport that ritualizes and thereby orders the world’s violence. As Barnes remarks, “Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bullfighters.”

Hemingway celebrates sports, especially blood sports, because they provide a welcome fiction of order. They also teach the adept to function with “grace under pressure"--as existential humanity must function if it is to survive.

When Romero has an affair with Brett Ashley, he jeopardizes his simple integrity. In an unselfish gesture, Brett breaks off with him, hoping she has not done too much damage. She cannot, however, save herself. The novel ends where it began, the expatriates locked into their meaningless round of dipsomania, erotic frustration, and creeping anomie.

Aldridge, John W. “The Sun Also Rises: Sixty Years Later.” Sewanee Review 94, no. 2 (Spring, 1986): 337-345. Abundant criticism on Hemingway’s most analyzed novel may overpower rather than enlighten nonspecialist readers. Aldridge, however, succeeds in blending accessibility and scholarship. Discussion of Hemingway’s meticulous language usage, based on the strong presence of things unsaid, is particularly interesting.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Contains ten essays that Bloom considers to represent the most helpful criticism published on the novel. Authors include Hemingway scholars such as Carlos Baker (Hemingway’s prime biographer), Scott Donaldson, and Linda Wagner-Martin.

The Hemingway Review 6, no. 1 (Fall, 1986): 2-111. This special issue celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of The Sun Also Rises. The nine articles deal with topics as diverse as the original manuscript, Hemingway’s presentation of women and war, the moral axis of the novel, and the word “sun” as title and metaphor.

Reynolds, Michael S. “The Sun Also Rises”: A Novel of the Twenties. Boston: Twayne, 1988. An excellent overall reference accessible to the general reader. Reynolds discusses the novel’s importance and critical reception and considers it from analytic, structural, historical, and thematic perspectives.

Wagner-Martin, Linda, ed. New Essays on “The Sun Also Rises.” Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Designed as a critical guide for students of American history and culture, this volume of five commissioned essays is thought-provoking yet accessible to nonspecialist readers.

Start your free trial with eNotes to access more than 30,000 study guides. Get help with any book. The Sun Also Rises Homework Help Questions The title of Ernest Hemingway's first book is The Sun Also Rises, which comes from a verse in the Bible. The title is an apt depiction both of the despair of the Lost Generation of which Hemingway.
  • Brett and Daisy are shown to be unable to love in a sincere and authentic manner. Both women's ability to love is precluded by other elements. These realities have overshadowed the capacity to love.
  • "The Sun Also Rises," by Ernest Hemingway, is a book about morality, values, and the meaning of life. Because these subjects are heavy, deep, and complex, the book has about 260 pages.
  • Bill was watching a prize fight in Vienna and when the black fighter knocked out the white one and tried to make some kind of statement, the white guy went after him again and eventually there was.
  • Gertrude Stein coined the phrase "The Lost Generation" and Hemingway portrays characters who are very much apart of this group. The lost generation felt disillusioned post WWI, and many.

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    Essay on Antigone

    Essay/Term paper: Another antigone Essay, term paper, research paper: Antigone

    Free essays available online are good but they will not follow the guidelines of your particular writing assignment. If you need a custom term paper on Antigone: Another Antigone. you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written essays will pass any plagiarism test. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

    Distillation of Antigone by Maurice Sagoff This poem is

    quite successful in getting the plot across to the reader.

    Unfortunatly, that is all he can get across because of his

    beleif that, "inside every fat book is a skinny book trying to

    get out." Sargoff cannot have character descriptions, themes,

    or any real detail in his "skinny book" because of his beleifs.

    Sargoff leaves off why Polynices should not be burried and

    why his brother, who is not even menchoned, can be

    burried. This is important to building the feelings of contempt

    towards Creon and an understanding of what Antigone is

    doing. Also, because this is a "Humorous Distillation," the

    tone of the play is lost. Instead of being a dramatic play

    about obeying a higher law, it is a comical, rhyming poem

    about what happened. This may cause it to lose the impact it

    had. Sargoff reduces important and pivotal points in the

    story to a sentence such as, "Creon wilts, and tries to bang a

    U-ee." This sentence does not tell of Creon's attempt to

    repent for what he! has done by burrying Polynices and then

    going to free Antigone. Even if Sargoff gets all of the plot

    across, that is not enough to tell the whole story. Aristotelian

    Unities Yes, Antigone does follow the Aristotelian Unities.

    The play occurs in the same place and roughly the same

    time. Things that happened before the play or outside of the

    place, was told by a messenger or a character themself. The

    action was all centered around Antigone's actions. Her

    actions were the sole cause of everything that happened.

    Greek Tragedy Antigone does follow the Greek definition of

    tragedy. Tragedy is a story or play that has a signifigant

    conflict of morals, with a noble protagonist displaying a

    tragic flaw that is their strength but leads to their downfall.

    The exposition of the story is when Antigone is talking with

    her sister and we learn of what has happened. The turning

    point of this play is when Creon tries to mend his wrongs by

    burying Polynices and freeing Antigone. Antigone herself is

    the tragic hero because she dies for what she believes

    morally right. Antigone's tragic flaw is that she has only sees

    her point of view which leads to her death. The denouement

    of this story is everybody dying and then Creon realizing

    what he has caused. The song of the story is attenden to

    throuhg the chorus' comentating on what is happening or

    through direct dialog. The thought of this play is wether it is

    right to follow heavenly laws or ones made by man.

    Antigone is the tool through which Sophocles tells th! at one

    should obey the law of the gods and human laws. The

    complication of the story is done through Creon

    misunderstanding what is happening. Creon thinks at one

    point that the guard has been bribed when actually he is

    telling the truth. Creon's recognition is when he finaly sees

    what has been happening and that Antigone is innocent and

    that Polynices should be buried.

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    Every generation has its own heroes that display, what they believe to be, ideal characteristics. While each is different in their own way, many of these role models share similar qualities.

    A young man by the name of Ernest Hemingway was born in 1898 and grew up in a suburb of Chicago Illinois. (Jones 416) His father was a doctor. As a boy, he and his father spent time tog.

    A Farewell to Arms [If The Sun Also Rises was one of the best books I have ever read, then A Farewell to Arms is Truth. I simply cannot believe that these books existed so long without my kno.

    The real question is Hamlet crazy or is he just acting it. In my opinion there are many things throughout the play that make me tend to believe that he is crazy. When Hamlet enters Opheliu's.

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    In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, we discover that Macbeth is a tragic hero. Macbeth is very ambitious, courageous, and a moral coward: all these things lead to his tragic death at.

    The Sun Also Rises Summary

    The Sun Also Rises Summary

    The narrator, Jake Barnes. describes Robert Cohn. a rich Jew who graduated from Princeton with low self-esteem, had an unsuccessful marriage, lost most of his inheritance, and moved to Paris with an exploitative woman, Frances, to write a novel. Jake plays tennis with him. Cohn sold his novel in America and returned with arrogance and a craving for adventure. He frequently imposes on Jake.

    One night, Jake picks up a girl, Georgette. and turns down her sexual advances, explaining he is "sick." They end up at a dancing-club, where Jake sees the beautiful and independent Lady Ashley, known to him as Brett. He eventually leaves with her; they have had a romantic relationship in the past, and though they kiss, Brett does not want to go through "'that hell again.'" They briefly discuss Jake's physical condition, which appears to be impotence. They meet one of Brett's friends, Count Mippipopolous. Jake makes plans to see her tomorrow. In his bed, he cries when thinking about Brett, and is woken when Brett drunkenly comes up. She invites him to go out with her and the count for dinner tomorrow, kisses him, and leaves.

    The next day, Cohn asks Jake about Brett; he explains she's getting a divorce now and is going to marry Mike Campbell. who is currently in Scotland. Cohn admits he's falling in love with her. Jake says he met her while he was in a hospital during the war; she was a volunteer nurse and had married the man whose name she took, Ashley. Later, after Brett blows off a date with Jake, Frances humiliates Cohn in front of Jake. Jake leaves, unable to stand it.

    Brett shows up with the count. Brett joins Jake in his room, and Jake says he loves her. Brett sends the count out for champagne. Jake asks Brett if they could live together, but she says they couldn't, as she would "tromper" (be unfaithful to, or elude) him. She says she is going away from him tomorrow, to San Sebastian, until Mike comes back. The count returns and shows his scars on his stomach and back from arrow wounds in various wars. They go to a club. Brett tells Jake about Mike, then tells Jake she is "'so miserable.'" They take the count's car to her hotel, but Brett doesn't want Jake to come up with her. They kiss at her door, but Brett pushes him away before leaving.

    Jake does not see Brett until she returns from San Sebastian, nor does he see Cohn, who takes a trip to the country. He works hard in preparation for his trip at the end of June to Spain with Bill Gorton. Bill arrives in Paris, and they run into Brett, just back from her trip. That night, they meet up with Brett and Mike. Brett introduces Mike as an "'undischarged bankrupt'"; he explains that his ex-partner "'did me in.'" Mike is very drunk and possessive of Brett.

    Jake receives a letter from the vacationing Cohn, who is eager to go on the fishing trip with Jake and Bill. Jake writes him and gives him instructions for where to meet them in Spain. Mike also asks if Jake would mind if they accompanied him to Spain, and Jake says it's fine. When Mike leaves, Brett tells Jake that it might be "'rough'" on Cohn to accompany them, as she went to San Sebastian with him. Bill and Jake take a train to Bayonne and meet Cohn that night.

    Jake, Bill, and Cohn hire a car and drive to Pamplona. They discuss Brett and Mike; Cohn bets Bill that they won't arrive. At night, Jake and Cohn go to meet Brett and Mike's train; they are not on it. Cohn tells Bill not to worry about the bet. Jake receives a telegram from Brett and Mike; they've stopped over in San Sebastian. They make plans to leave tomorrow; if Brett and Mike get in later, they can follow them. The next day, Cohn says he won't be leaving with them. He explains that he is supposed to meet Brett and Mike in San Sebastian, as he had suggested it to Brett. Bill and Jake share information about Cohn and Brett, and decide they're better off without him and take a bus to Burguete for fishing.

    Bill and Jake bond while fishing, and meet an Englishman named Harris at their inn. One day, Jake receives a letter from Mike; Brett passed out on the train, so they decided to recuperate in San Sebastian with old friends. He says they are going to Pamplona. Jake and Bill take a bus to Pamplona. They talk to the head of the hotel, Montoya. and learn about the bull-fights for the next couple of days. Montoya believes he and Jake are true, passionate "aficionados" of bull-fighting. The good bull-fighters stay at Montoya's hotel. Jake describes the "unloadings" of the bull-fights to Bill: they release the bulls from their corrals, and they chase and gore steers, young oxen castrated before sexual maturity. The purpose is to calm down the bulls and prevent them from fighting each other. Jake and Bill find Brett, Mike, and Cohn, and they watch the bulls unloaded. One steer is gored and excluded, while the other befriends the bulls. Brett is fascinated. Later, Mike says Cohn follows Brett around like a steer and that he is not wanted. Bill leads Cohn away. While Mike knows Brett has affairs -- she tells him -- he finds Cohn pathetic. Later, everyone has a pleasant dinner together, pretending nothing happened. Jake has a rough night, tormenting himself with thoughts of Brett. Pamplona gets ready the next two days for the fiesta.

    The fiesta explodes at noontime on Sunday. While some people are at mass, as San Fermin is also a religious festival, music, dancing, and drinking fill the streets.

    Wearing wreaths of garlic, dancers chant around Brett in a circle. They do the same to Bill and Jake. Afterwards, they seat Brett on a cask from which they draw wine, and give her a wreath of garlic. Jake, Bill, and Mike share food and drink with the Spaniards. Jake wakes the next morning to the rocket announcing the release of the bulls. He watches from the balcony. Men run down the street to the bull-ring, chased by bulls.

    Jake and his friends go to the bull-fight that afternoon. Jake gives some advice to Brett about watching the fight; she is nervous about what will happen when the bull attacks the horse. Jake returns to the hotel for his wine-skin, where Montoya briefly introduces him to Pedro Romero. an extremely good-looking young bull-fighter. Jack finds the fight good, as Romero is a "real" bull-fighter. Later, Mike points out and Brett admits that she could not stop staring at Romero. Romero dominates the second day of fighting. Jake explains to Brett why Romero is so skilled a matador. Mike jokes that Brett is falling in love with Romero.

    At dinner in the hotel, Romero invites Jake to his table. They discuss bull-fighting. Jake introduces him to his friends, and Brett flirts with Romero; Mike, drunk and disorderly, makes disparaging comments to Romero and, when he leaves, to Cohn. Later, Brett tells Cohn to leave her and Jake alone. She admits she has fallen in love with Romero and cannot help it. She feels she has to do something, as she has lost her self-respect with the way Mike and Cohn are around her. She asks Jake to help her through this, and they find Romero in the café with other bull-fighters. Romero joins them. Jake leaves with an excuse, but he makes it clear it is to leave Romero and Brett alone. When he returns later, they are gone.

    Jake reunites with Mike, Bill, and Cohn. Mike says that Brett has gone off with Romero. Cohn asks Jake if it's true, and when he receives no answer, calls Jake a "'pimp.'" They fight, and Cohn beats up Jake and Mike. Later, at the hotel, Bill tells Jake that Cohn wants to see him. Jake reluctantly goes to Cohn's room. Cohn is crying and begs Jake's forgiveness, and says he'll be leaving in the morning. He says he can't take the way Brett treats him like a stranger, after they had lived together in San Sebastian. Jake says goodbye to him.

    Jakes wakes and goes to the bull-ring to watch the bulls run in. A bull gores one man in the back. Jake reads about the man in the paper the next day, and the town has a funeral for him the day after that. Jake describes how Romero killed the bull the afternoon of the funeral. Its ear was cut off and given to Romero, who gave it to Brett. She discarded the ear in her hotel room's drawer. Bill and Mike tell Jake that after Cohn beat up him and Mike, he found Brett in Romero's room and beat up Romero badly. When he tried to apologize to Romero, the bull-fighter hit Cohn in the face, and then threatened to kill him if he weren't out of town by the morning. Brett told Cohn off until he cried. Brett is now taking care of Romero. Mike also relates Brett's unhappy relationship with the Englishman Lord Ashley (from whom she received her title).

    It is the last day of the fiesta. Brett tells Jake and Bill at the café that Romero is badly hurt and won't leave his room, though he is still going to fight. Mike angrily tips over the table. Brett leaves with Jake. She tells him she is happy, and asks him to go to the fight with her. After lunch, Jake, Bill, and Brett sit ring-side at the fight. Three matadors are there -- Romero, Marcial, and Belmonte. Belmonte, a legend who recently came out retirement, renowned for working close to the bull and gravely endangering himself, goes first and is very good, but not as good as he used to be, and the crowd turns against him. Romero is elegant in the "quite," in which the bull charges all three matadors. With his own bull, whose vision is impaired, Romero works to make the match exciting, but the crowd does not understand the situation, and believes he is afraid. He brilliantly handles the last bull, the one that gored the man the other day. His brother cuts the ear off the bull and hands it to Romero, who gives it to Brett. That night, Mike tells Jake that Brett left with Romero on the train.

    The fiesta is over the next morning. The men split up, and Jake ends up in San Sebastian. He spends several relaxing days there until he receives a telegram from Brett in Madrid, saying she is in trouble and asking him to come to her hotel. He arrives in Madrid on the overnight train. Brett is happy to see him and kisses him, and says she made Romero leave yesterday. He wanted to marry her so that she "'couldn't go away from him.'" Ultimately, she feels she could have lived with him had she not seen it would be bad for him. Brett cries, and Jake holds her. She says she is returning to Mike. They get train tickets for that night, and later go for a taxi ride through Madrid. Brett laments that she and Jake could have had "'such a damned good time together.'" Jake replies, "'YesŠIsn't it pretty to think so?'"

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    The Sun Also Rises Essay - Critical Essays

    The Sun Also Rises Essay - Critical Essays

    Topic #1
    Show how Hemingway uses setting to demonstrate his characters’ moral and ethical standards.

    I. Thesis Statement: Hemingway uses a variety of settings to demonstrate various characters’ attitudes about life.

    II. Paris
    A. Excessive drinking
    B. No religion
    C. Idle rich
    D. Abnormal sexual practices

    III. Pamplona
    A. Bullfighting
    B. Cathedrals along countryside
    C. Aficiónados

    IV. Burguete
    A. Fishing
    B. Communing with nature
    C. Harris

    V. San Sebastian
    A. Relaxation
    B. Swimming
    C. Bicycle race

    VI. Madrid
    A. All roads lead there
    B. Comes to terms with Brett
    C. Goes to Brett’s rescue

    Topic #2
    Show how Stein’s “lost generation” is represented in the novel. How does Hemingway feel about them?

    I. Thesis Statement: By focusing on various characters’ injuries, Hemingway shows the lack of productivity and morals of the “lost generation.”

    II. Jake
    A. War injury
    B. Impotent
    C. Unable to satisfy his true love

    III. Brett
    A. Lost love
    B. Alcoholic
    C. Cannot find/keep true love
    D. In abusive relationships

    IV. Count Mippopolous
    A. War injury
    B. Self-satisfying
    C. Shallow

    V. Michael
    A. War injury
    B. Alcoholic
    C. Financially bankrupt
    D. Morally bankrupt
    E. Mean to Robert

    Topic #3
    Show how Hemingway uses religion to demonstrate Jake’s code and his violation of it.

    I. Thesis Statement: Hemingway uses a religious framework to develop Jake’s code and his violation of it.

    II. Fishing in Burguete
    A. Communion-like scene
    B. Appreciation of nature
    C. Simplicity of desires

    III. Catholicism
    A. On train to Burguete
    B. Jake’s praying
    C. Various cathedrals
    D. Jake’s religion of record

    IV. Pedro
    A. Priest figure
    B. Leader of three matadors
    C. Aficiónado
    D. Monastic room

    V. Brett
    A. Mary Magdalene figure
    B. Sees she deserves Mike, not Romero
    C. Tries to pray for Romero
    D. Unable to make inner conversion

    VI. Montoya
    A. Laying on of hands
    B. Secret with Jake
    C. Aficiónado
    D. Disapproves of Jake’s sin

    VII. Bullfighting
    A. Ritualistic
    B. Spiritually awakening
    C. Accompanied by extreme emotion

    Critical Analysis: Antigone by Sophocles at

    Be careful of what you say and how you say it because you never know what fate has in store for you. This is one the points Sophocles gives his readers in his drama Antigone. The dialog of his drama is very compelling and intricate. Sophocles wrote this for an audience of people who were morally corrupt and in need of someone to tell them the consequences of their actions. To those people in ancient Greece, the dialog was easy to follow and the point was made clear but people today have to read and reread until the point is made clear. Also we get to find the meanings behind the words; we get to see what others don't see. There are so many aspects of this play worth analyzing but the best of them all is the dialog that Sophocles created. In this essay you will see how there was more revealed than thought on first glance. You will see how Sophocles' characters made predictions about themselves and how when you read the play again and again things are better explained through the dialog instead of narration.

    In Antigone, Sophocles tells the story of a young woman who when faced with the decision to defy the God's whom she so loves or the King, she has no problem defying the King. The King on the other hand has no problem defying the laws of the God's. Each person has consequences to face but the difference between the girl and the King is that the girl knows what fate lies ahead and if she defies the King there are dire consequences but she does nothing to change her fate. The King is driven by his need to prove a point to the city, he doesn't heed the warnings of his son.

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    A Critical Essay on The Sun Also Rises

    A Sample Critical Essay on Hemingway's 'The Sun Also Rises'

    By Richard Nordquist. Grammar & Composition Expert

    Richard Nordquist, Ph.D. in English, is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Armstrong Atlantic State University and the author of two grammar and composition textbooks for college freshmen, Writing Exercises (Macmillan) and Passages: A Writer's Guide (St. Martin's Press). Richard has served as the Guide to Grammar & Composition since 2006.

    Updated February 29, 2016.

    In this short critical essay (approximately 1,000 words) about Ernest Hemingway 's novel The Sun Also Rises (titled Fiesta in Great Britain), the author demonstrates how minor characters shed light on some of the conflicts experienced by the protagonist, Jake Barnes. The title of the essay offers an allusion to the last line of John Milton's sonnet "On His Blindness": "They also serve who only stand and wait." Notice that the essay is based on a close reading of the novel and does not rely on secondary sources .

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    'They Also Serve. ': The Waiter in The Sun Also Rises

    A Sample Critical Essay on a Novel

    1 To keep Jake Barnes drunk, fed, clean, mobile, and distracted in The Sun Also Rises. Ernest Hemingway employs a large retinue of minor functionaries: maids, cab drivers, bartenders, porters, tailors, bootblacks, barbers, policemen, and one village idiot. But of all the retainers seen working quietly in the background of the novel, the most familiar figure by far is the waiter. In cafés from Paris to Madrid, from one sunrise to the next, over two dozen waiters deliver drinks and relay messages to Barnes and his compatriots.

    As frequently in attendance and as indistinguishable from one another as they are, these various waiters seem to merge into a single emblematic figure as the novel progresses. A detached observer of human vanity, this figure does more than serve food and drink: he serves to illuminate the character of Jake Barnes.

    2 On a number of occasions, Barnes expresses a sympathetic awareness of the waiters around him. For instance, after dining with Lady Brett Ashley and the count at the restaurant in the Bois, Barnes recognizes that the two waiters standing by the door "wanted to go home" (61).

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    Likewise, on the French train crowded with pilgrims, Barnes discourages Bill Gorton from teasing the overworked waiter, saying, "No. He's too tired" (88). It is fitting that Barnes should identify. at least implicitly, with waiters. Like them, he is a reticent and passive observer, carrying out routines with emotional detachment. For the waiters, of course, such detachment is merely professional decorum. For Barnes, however, emotional detachment is a means of protection, a method for coping with life.

    3 One way that Barnes maintains his composure is to substitute objective observations for emotional responses. His ritualistic descriptions of waiters doing their work often serves this purpose, as in the conclusion to the scene in the Bar Milano. Ignoring the warnings of Montoya, Barnes has set Brett up with Pedro Romero:

    When I came back and looked in the café, twenty minutes later, Brett and Romero were gone. The coffee-glasses and our three empty cognac-glasses were on the table. A waiter came with a cloth and picked up the glasses and mopped off the table. (187)

    By focusing on this image of cleansing and reordering--of a waiter clearing up the mess made by others--Barnes displaces whatever feelings of remorse, shame, and envy he may have.

    4 On occasion, however, a waiter may be seen to dramatize rather than displace Barnes's feelings. After leaving the Bar Milano, Barnes goes to the Café Suizo, where he is knocked out cold by Robert Cohn. After being revived, he again offers a parting view: "I looked back at them and at the empty tables. There was a waiter sitting at one of the tables with his head in his hands" (192). As an image of weariness, this is hardly unusual: it's late and the waiter is tired. But the image of head in hands may suggest something more, particularly as observed by a man whose own head is "a little wobbly" (192). It may be seen as a tableau dramatizing Barnes's own exhaustion, pain, shame, and despair.

    5 For the most part, waiters function silently throughout the novel as disinterested witnesses, emblems of routine maintenance, and correlatives to Jake Barnes and his suppressed emotions. In one important scene, however, immediately following the death of Vincente Girones, a waiter steps out of his conventional role, sits down beside Barnes at the table, and offers this choric commentary: "A big horn wound. All for fun. Just for fun. That's it. All for fun. Fun, you understand. Right through the back. A cornada right through the back. For fun--you understand. You hear? Muerto. Dead" (197-98). It is not just the repetition and the echo of "cornada " in this speech that recall the prayer of the older waiter in Hemingway's short story "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." More significantly, it is the weary but forceful note of human concern in the face of human absurdity that links the two waiters. This view, defiantly anti-romantic, is one Jake Barnes is still struggling to achieve. When asked by the waiter what he thinks of all this "fun," Barnes can say only, "I don't know" (197).

    6 Appropriately, then, it is again a waiter who signals a possible change in Barnes's life. The last part of the novel opens with another image of cleansing, waiters "sweeping the streets and sprinkling them with a hose" (227). And it is a waiter's actions that dramatize the end of the fiesta:

    A waiter wearing a blue apron came out with a bucket of water and a cloth, and commenced to tear down the notices, pulling the paper off in strips and washing and rubbing away the paper that stuck to the stone. The fiesta was over. (227)

    The vigorous verbs in this description reflect Barnes's determination that certain things in his life were over, that he had reached "the end of the line" (239), that he was "through with fiestas for awhile" (232). Perhaps he had learned something about friendship, about "valuable qualities," something waiters had always understood (233).

    7 In The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway has countered the lost generation of main characters with the emblematic figure of the waiter, whose voice is as old as the book of Ecclesiastes: "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity" (The Holy Bible Eccles. 1:2). The wisdom gained by the waiter through disinterested observations of human folly may lead to the strength that can help him endure. We should remember, after all, that the novel's single representative of moral valor, Pedro Romero, "learned his English as a waiter in Gib" (242).

    Hemingway, Ernest. "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." Winner Take Nothing. New York: Scribner's, 1933.

    ---. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Scribner's, 1926.

    The Holy Bible, King James Version. New York: American Bible Society, 1999.

    © Richard F. Nordquist