Tag Archives: The Sun Also Rises

My Way or the Hemingway: A Clash with Classics Part 2

The Sun Also Rises coverThere are possibly no two “classic” novels more different than Jane Eyre and The Sun Also Rises, and reading them one after the other gave me what I can only describe as literary whiplash. One is a Romantic, emotional and wordy “history of a woman’s heart” with good spiritual Victorian values, the other is a modernist, minimalist, hyper-masculine grit-fest about how everyone’s constantly drunk and sleeping with each other in a godless world.

Hailed by some as the greatest novel of the 20th century (whether or not I feel like it deserves that metaphysical medal, we shall get to in a moment), Ernest Hemingway’s first book drops the reader with no hand-holding, help or description beyond utter scene-setting basics in 1920s Paris. Our narrator is Jake Barnes, a World War One veteran who suffered an injury in combat that (though again, never actually described) seems to have damaged his genitalia. In the midst of a new, modern culture where everyone’s throwing off the values of the past generation and having affairs in all directions, it’s just one of the reasons he feels a little disillusioned and fed up with the state of things. Continue reading


Filed under Alex Reads