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Hemingway’s art of anxiety: The visual-to-verbal relationship in "The Sun Also Rises"

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  1. Introduction.
    1. Dependance in Hemingway's style.
    2. Understanding why Cezanne is important in The Sun Also Rises.
  2. Hemingway's use of Cezanne's landscape.
  3. Cezanne's rendition of still life.
  4. Hemingway's use of artistic techniques.
    1. Use of both landscape and still life.
    2. The barren country.
  5. The town of Burguete.
    1. The problem of male bonding.
    2. The repeated use of still-life during the actual act of fishing.
  6. Conclusion.

Hemingway's style depends upon vividness and exactness of visual detail to create the atmosphere of modernism which permeates his works both large and small. Though this richness is due to influence from other writers of the modernist period (as well as the application of his own theory of omission), the visual intensity of Hemingway's work is also related to his interest in the Impressionist painter Cezanne, who focused on developing the ideas intrinsic to modernism through traditional forms of painting (i.e. still-life, landscape, etc.). Throughout many of his early short stories and novels, Hemingway uses the techniques cribbed from Cezanne's style of painting to create a modern visual art form within a literary context. The use of Cezanne's techniques by Hemingway in his novel The Sun Also Rises is used to describe the anxiety felt by Jake towards issues of his own sexuality.

[...] The repeated use of still-life during the actual act of fishing in chapter XII only serves to support the anxiety experienced by Jake in his bonding with Bill. While they are fishing, Bill suggests to Jake that they cool the wine by placing the bottles in the stream. Jake then places the bottles inside an ?iron pipe? out of which spring flowed.? This pipe is obscured by board over the spring? (TSAR 123). By doing so, Jake has created a still-life composed of the iron pipe, plank, and two bottles. [...]


[...] One major example of artistic genres to mirror the internal anxieties of the narrative focus is the fishing sequence that occurs in The Sun Also Rises. Heminingway uses both landscape and still life in the fishing sequence occurring between chapters XI and XII to explore the insecurities that the impotent Jake Barnes has regarding his own sexual identity. Specifically, the fishing excursion calls into question notions of male bonding and its often uncomfortable parallel with homoeroticism. In this sequence, the landscape and still life techniques taken from Cezanne work together to create a safe space in which male bonding may occur without the general disapproval of society at large. [...]


[...] These artificial boundaries of society and religion are therefore valueless in the context of a natural setting that has little need for definition or boundary beyond the mountains themselves. If (as has been shown in regards to in Michigan?) Hemingway is using landscape according to his studies of Cezanne, the valley can only express those signals which have attracted Jake's consciousness. In other words, the images expressed are those which allow Jake to extract some kind of meaning from his experience. [...]

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