Jake Barns as a Code Hero in The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway is a renowned American author of the Twentieth century who centers his novels on personal experiences and affections. He is one of the authors named “The Lost Generation.” He could not cope with post-war America, and therefore he introduced a new type of character in writing called the “code hero”. Hemingway is known to focus his novels around code heroes who struggle with the mixture of their tragic faults and the surrounding environment. Traits of a typical Hemingway Code Hero
are a love of good times, stimulating surroundings, and strict moral rules, including honesty. The Code Hero always exhibits some form of a physical wound that serves as his tragic flaw and the weakness of his character. In Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also
Rises Jake Barnes is the character who maintains the typical Code Hero qualities; while Robert Cohn provides the antithesis of a Code Hero.
Jake Barnes, the narrator and main character of The Sun Also Rises, is left impotent by an ambiguous accident during World War I. Jake’s wound is the first of many code hero traits that he features. This physical wound, however, transcends into an
emotional one by preventing Jake from ever consummating his love with Lady Brett Ashley. Emotional suffering can take its toll on the Code Hero as it did with Jake Barnes. Despite the deep love between Jake and Lady Brett, Jake is forced to keep the relationship strictly platonic and stand watch as different men float in and out of Lady Ashley’s life and bed. No one other than Jake and Brett ever learn the complexity of their relationship because Jake’s hopeless love for Brett and the agony it entails are restricted to scenes known to themselves alone. Therefore, Jake suffers in silence because he has learned to trust and rely only upon himself, which is conducive to the Hemingway Code as well.
Jake is an American who travels to Europe to satiate his appetite for exotic landscapes and to escape his pain. Jake tries to live his life to the fullest with drinking, partying, and sporting with friends. With these pastimes, Jake hopes to hide from his fault
and get on with the life he has been made to suffer. Watching and participating in sports help accentuate the Code Hero’s masculinity and provide the sense of pride Jake has lost.