Hemingway Masculinity Analysis

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Ernest Hemingway is known for his terse and iceberg style of writing. Despite this, he weaves intricate stories with rich characters and deeper meanings that often reflect himself. Jake’s struggle with masculinity and his injury are a common theme throughout The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway has also had issues with his masculinity and insecurities. Throughout The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway projects his own issues and personality onto his characters, especially when concerning the struggle of masculinity, and specifically in the case of Jake Barnes. Hemingway’s childhood was infused with many hardships and roadblocks that continued to affect him later in life. He was extremely competitive and participated in boxing, football, and track, although…show more content…
However, Jake Barnes could never achieve and participate in this craze due to the injury he sustained during WWI. This damaged his self-esteem and due to the location of the injury, his masculinity, “Undressing, I looked at myself in the mirror...of all the ways to be wounded” (Hemingway 38). Maslow's hierarchy of needs states that one must achieve self-esteem before self-actualization. Therefore, “Jake will never achieve the psychological stability he craves because he finally accepts...philosophies about his injury...these ideas...will always leave him vulnerable to the fear that he will...be an invalid” (Fore). Not only does this ruin his self-esteem but ruins his relationships as well since he is impotent as a result. The steers in the novel that calm down the bulls symbolize Jake, “‘It's no life being a steer...They never say anything and they’re always hanging about so.’” (Hemingway 145-146). The bulls represent masculine males, as they usually gore a steer to calm down. Being ‘gored’ is how Jake constantly feels when he is rejected by Brett or made to feel inferior by bullfighters or his friend group. Later on in the novel, a man is gored by a bull. Romero fights this bull and kills it further extending the idea that bullfighters are much more masculine and superior to a common man. Jake sees himself as less than a regular man, and is therefore no match for a
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