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Hemmingway: Shifting Gender Roles In The Sun Also Rises

1048 words - 5 pages

Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Chicago, Illinois. Hemingway was an American author and journalist. Kemen Zabala author of “HEMINGWAY: A STUDY IN GENDER AND SEXUALITY” states that Hemingway was commonly known for portraying the sterile and disillusioned environment created by the massive human loss of World War I. Perhaps his exposure to the atrocious nature of war as a Red Cross ambulance driver in the Europe during World War I aided and further influenced his literary capturing of warfare and how it had affected the “Lost Generation”. Hemingway himself popularized this term, it indicates the coming of age generation during World War I. Ashley Torres, author of “Gender Roles ...view middle of the document...

An analysis of the relationships between his “Lost Generation” characters, Brett Ashley and Jake Barnes, affirms how warfare had served as a catalyst for the shifting gender roles of the twentieth century, particularly in the years following World War I. Lady Ashley and Mr. Barnes often venture outside of the gender boundaries, exhibiting behavior not specific to their gender, in result redefining the male-female relationships. We will first analyze Brett Ashley, who by shifting outside of her gender role has awakened the “modern” woman. Brett Ashley, one of the “Lost Generation” characters depicted in The Sun Also Rises rebels against every feature of the strict Victorian gender positions for women. According to the article “Gender Role Reversal as a Critique on Sex: Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises” throughout the novel Brett Ashley, exudes characteristics that defy the Victorian notions, which make up a “Lady”. The connotation of her name, which itself is an arguable contradiction, implies that in the aspect of social class Brett Ashley is a lady, but aside from her title she has no other distinguishing ladylike features. According to Torres, Lady Brett Ashley demonstrates this new age femme with her carefree nature with a masculine identity ("Gender Roles Shift in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises"). Lady Ashley is even physical described by Jake Barnes as having boyish features and clothing: “Brett was damned good-looking. She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy’s. She started all that. She was built like the hull of a racing yacht, and you missed none of it with that wool jersey.” (The Sun Also Rises, Page 22). Brett also explores and shifts her sexuality by engaging in sexual activities with various men, disregarding the patriarchal martial arrangements and society’s standard of virtue during the Victorian Era. This is illustrated by Mike, Brett, and Jake’s conversation at a bar: “Mark you. Brett’s had affairs with men before. She tells me all about everything,” to which Brett replies, “Michael and I understand each other” (The...

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