Relationships In Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises

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In The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, there are many characters with different beliefs, especial regarding relationships. Jake Barnes, the narrator of the book, has an interesting approach to relationships. Because of Jake’s war injury, he believes that he is unable to have a relationship because he cannot have sex, but this belief blinds him from the fact that emotionally intimate relationships exist.
When Jake fought in the first World War, he suffered an injury that left him impotent and emasculated; which is considered an injury worse than death. When he was in the hospital, he was greeted by liaison colonel. This colonel, informed of Jake’s injury, said to him, “You, a foreigner, an Englishman… have given more than your life” (39).
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While discussing his injury with with Brett, Jake says, “Besides, what happened to me is supposed to be funny. I never think about it” (35). Jake says that he “never think[s] about” his injury; however, this is not true. Jake doesn’t want to address the injury, as it brings shame to him, however, the reality of it always looms around him. And because this issue hovers over him constantly, he is consumed by the idea that all relationships need to be sexual; therefore, blinding him from seeing the need for an emotional relationship. Additionally, this passage reveals that Jake is an unreliable narrator. This shows us that he in an unreliable narrator because he is lying to both Brett and the reader. Once we recognize Jake’s unreliability as a narrator, especially regarding his injury, we are able to better understand that he often lies to others about how often he thinks about his injury. Since Jake lies about his real feelings to others, he prevents them from seeing his true self. And since his friends never see his true self, they are unable to have a full relationship together. Therefore, Jake’s lies further prevent him from having emotional …show more content…
This occurs when Jake spends time with a prostitute, Georgette. However, the two of them don’t engage in any sexual acts. She is one of the first people that he talks to just because he wants to be with somebody. Jake recollects, “I had picked her up because of a vague sentimental ideas that it would be nice to eat with someone.” (24). Yet again, we are able to see Jake as an unreliable narrator, Jake’s idea isn’t “vague” or “sentimental;” it’s just true. He has finally realized that he lacks emotional connections with other people. Because he is unable to have sex, Jake believes that he is unable to keep a relationship, as he believes that relationships solely require sexual intimacy. Therefore, because Jake has not had a relationship in a while, he wants and needs the affection. And once Jake realizes that he is able to have an emotional relationship with someone, he begins to fill the void in himself that has been left by his lack of intimacy with women. Additionally, it is interesting to note that Georgette is a prostitute, as their jobs usually only concern sexual actions. However, Jake manages to step back from the sexual aspect of Georgette and just engage in an emotionally intimate

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