In Ernest Hemingway's book, The Sun Also Rises, both the title and epigraph create commentary on the attitude of the characters. By using both a Gertrude Stein quote and a passage from the book of Ecclesiastes, Hemingway shows how his generation was viewing life and, in contrast, how his generation should view life. Without considering the title and epigraph, it becomes easy for the reader to see the entire work as a story filled with hopelessness. However, by understanding the correct context suggested by the title, the reader can then identify with Hemingway's presentation of hope in using proper standards in judging life. More importantly, Robert Cohn is used as a direct parallel to the author of Ecclesiastes to reveal unsound standards used to find happiness.
[...] The Sun Also Rises follows a specific area in which Robert Cohn searches for meaning in life; a romantic relationship with Lady Brett Ashley. The reader first notices this when Cohn asks Brett to dance. stood holding the glass and I saw Robert Cohn looking at her. He looked a great deal as his compatriot must have looked when he saw the Promised Land” (29). Just as the Promise Land was the end of the long, searching journey for the Jewish people, Cohn viewed Brett as the end of his long, searching journey. [...]
[...] Cohn also shares the flawed standards in judging life. The novel starts with a short history of Robert Cohn. The narrator, Jake, explains that Cohn “cared nothing for boxing” but learned it “painfully and thoroughly to counteract the feeling of inferiority and shyness he had felt on being a Jew at Princeton” This immediately gives the reader insight into Cohn's personality and insecurity. Just as the author of Ecclesiastes begins his story with despair and uncertainty, Hemingway begins his story with an established insecurity of the central character. [...]
[...] But just as Jake noticed earlier, Cohn endures all kinds of abuse and racial prejudice in hopes that “love will conquer all.” Just as the book of Ecclesiastes is a story of a search for fulfillment, The Sun Also Rises shares the story of a similar search. By using a passage of this Biblical book in the epigraph and for the title, Hemingway sets up a point of reference to parallel Cohn's journey. The book of Ecclesiastes is often viewed as a book that shows the folly in the common standards for a fulfilling life and provides hope by expressing that there is [...]
[...] Robert's hell was the result of a flawed judgment on what would bring true happiness to his life. The author of Ecclesiastes experienced a similar hell during his search for meaning; I hated life all of it is meaningless” (Ecc. 2:17). The preacher's unfruitful search left him unhappy and depressed at a meaningless life. While Cohn seems to learn a valuable lesson, Jakes also learns lessons as well. Early in the novel, when Roberts invites Jake on a South American voyage, Jake explains, “'going to another country doesn't make any difference. [...]
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