Humanity In Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises

2008 Words9 Pages
Following the despair and hopelessness of World War I, those who were ravaged by the pain of the war have begun to lose their grip on their own humanity. As defined by Merriam-Webster, humanity is the quality or state of being human. In a melancholic post-war society, Hemingway explores the loss of basic human characteristics such as the desire to have a meaningful life, the capability to form emotional connections, and the ability to be confident in one’s masculinity. In The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway simplifies, deforms, and brutalizes images in order to illustrate the eroding sense of humanity among his characters. Initially, Hemingway examines the decline in ambition among his characters and thus the deterioration of humanity by introducing…show more content…
When Barnes first notices the homosexual men enter the bar with Brett, he is filled with anger and jealousy. “I was very angry. Somehow they always made me angry. I know they are supposed to be amusing, and you should be tolerant, but I wanted to swing on one, any one, anything to shatter that superior, simpering composure” (28). Barnes portrays these men as feminine, slightly alien, and completely lacking in masculinity. Initially, Barnes is triggered by this group of men because they are with Brett and he is jealous. However, there are other reasons for Barnes frustrations that run much deeper. For Barnes, someone who is struggling to maintain any sliver of manhood he can, these homosexual men are appalling because contrary to Barnes, they are choosing to be less masculine. These men were not injured in the war. These men were not told that they would be unable to have sexual encounters. These men did not have their manhood and confidence ripped away from them. If anything, these men recklessly threw their masculinity away. This scene serves to reveal Barnes’ deep insecurities about who he was as a person and in turn, his humanity. Similarly, other characters such as Cohn also struggled with their masculinity. Hemingway notes that this insecurity regarding masculinity is a symptom of a rapidly deteriorating
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