This is a question I am struggling with because it is how I feel about The Sun Also Rises. Each character is very flawed. They lead lives that are generally selfish in nature and don't convey any hints of compassion, generosity, or gentility. Their lives are ungrounded and unfocused. They meander through life seeking pleasure through alcohol, entertainment, and sex. They don't have a plan.
All of these characteristics and feelings left me frustrated and unhappy. I was frustrated with the characters actions and the way the author used them. I had decided I didn't like this book.
And then I did some research. I read what other people thought were the general themes of the book. I read why Hemingway portrayed the characters the way he did. I read about the underlying cultural issue of the time. And then I understood.
Hemingway is a writer that often focuses on the "Lost Generation." It was a topic of importance to him because he identified himself as being apart of these people. This is the generation of individuals who fought in WWI and came back with a broken spirit to a disillusioned life. Seeing the atrocity of war, they often tried to seek the true meaning of life, or the true pleasures at least. They became lost in alcoholism and affairs. Coping with normalcy was extremely different. While this was happening, the society at large decided to act like nothing ever happened and went on as normal, making this generation feel all the more alone in their trials. After fighting in WWI himself, Hemingway was injured and struggled with the entry into "life as normal."
So instead of writing a book that explains specifically the effect war had on these individuals, he wrote a novel filled with brokenness and confusion. He made us feel what they feel. He showed us the true mental, emotional, and physical struggle that was battled by each individual of this Lost Generation.
And that is something I love. That makes me say this is a book I like.
A list of what's to come, and what has already been explored.
My Written Artwork Journey Explained
- Animal Farm - George Orwell
- The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Emma - Jane Austen
- Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
- Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Tennessee Williams
- Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
- Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
- Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
- The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer
- Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
- Nineteen Eighty-four - George Orwell
- Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
- Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
- The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
- The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
- Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
- Pickwick Papers - Charles Dickens
- Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
- The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
- Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
- Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
- Lord of the Flies - William Golding
- Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut
- The sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
- Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
- Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
- Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
- Little Woman - Louisa Ma Alcott
- Crime and Punishment - Fedor Dostoyevsky
- Watership Down - Richard Adams
- Doctor Zhivago - Boris Pasternak
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
- Alls Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque
- Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle
- Moby Dick - Herman Melville
- The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane
- Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
- Tales - Edgar Allan Poe
- Diary of a Madman and Other Stories - Nikolai Gogol
- Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
- A Farewell To Arms - Ernest Hemingway
- Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen