Hemingway’s The Sun Also RisesThe title and narrative focus of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises are rooted in a passage from the Ecclesiastes. In referencing this book of the Hebrew Bible, Hemingway resorts to aged scripture to unearth steadfast truths. His novel uses old-world beliefs to provide a solution for modern day issues, asserting the undeniable value of tradition. The applicability of the Ecclesiastes passage to Hemingway’s portrait of hopelessness in the post-Great War generation demonstrates that a reconnection with the natural world will reverse the unnatural consequences of a meaningless war and permit the reestablishment of hope within the following generation.
The historicity and context of Hemingway’s opening reference to the Ecclesiastes demonstrates that an attachment to the natural world enables renewal. By reusing an ancient text to precede an interpretation of changes in 20th century expatriates, Hemingway illustrates the everlasting pertinence of its context. This effect establishes that textual traditions endure throughout time. To substantiate this inference, the context of Hemingway’s reference employs the likeminded rational that the overriding nature of the earth is everlasting simultaneous to alterations in generations of its inhabitants. To emphasize the enduring quality of the earth, the Ecclesiastes excerpt illustrates the interminably cyclical route traveled by the sun, wind, and rivers. In contrast to the linear quality of the Ecclesiastical observation that, “one generation passeth away, and another generation cometh” (p. 7), the earth retains its cycle, unaffected by the mortality of passing generations. By referencing a relationship between man and the earth that is define…
…xample of a reduced product of the war. His castration inhibits natural progression and, consequently, his attachment with nature. In Hemingway’s conclusion, Jake pursues the desire to reconnect with Brett, yet the effects of the war inhibit a return to tradition. Brett’s statement “we could have had such a damned good time together” (p. 251) illustrates the undeniable strain of Jake’s castration that prevents the realization of natural emotions. Nevertheless, the Ecclesiastes preference projects hope with, “all the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full” (p. 7). This generation, harmed by the unnatural and purposeless war, has great obstacles in reconnecting with the natural world. Yet, subsequent generations will continue traditions begun before this unnatural intrusion.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Scribner, 1926.