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Masculinity In The Sun Also Rises

1043 words - 5 pages

Charlie Harper sits in his living room, he’s watching the boxing game and is about to call one of his many hookers. Charlie looks at the phone and then at the TV and says, “ This is the life!” This shows that Charlie values two things sports and women. Why? Simple, Women bring sex. Boxing shows a sense of bravery, getting into the ring and willingly putting yourself out there to get beaten up. Charlie Harper is not the only one who values these things but men in the 1920’s do as well. The Sun Also Rises is a story that takes place in the 1920’s and is written by Ernest Hemingway. The novel follows the life of Jake an American war veteran as he and his friends got to Pamplona, where there will be a Fiesta with a lot of bullfighting. These time periods maybe about 90 years apart but they still value the same ideals. In The Sun Also Rises the bullfighting scenes are central to the novel because they demonstrate the importance the characters place on sex and bravery. This characteristic and action personify their obsession with masculinity.
To commence, the bullfights show the heightened value of sex in the novel and how sex or the ability to have sex is a masculine quality. The roles in bullfighting parallel sex. Steers are castrated, they are useful to tame the bull but other than that they are rather pointless and not valued by people as Robert Cohn remarks “It’s no life being a steer” (Hemingway 145) The bull on the other hand is a majestic creature, an untamed savage beast. Everyone cheers for the bulls and are eager to see them. These roles in the bullfighting parallel the characters in The Sun Also Rises as well. Jake and Cohn are steers and Brett is a bull. Jake and Cohn are steers and it is demonstrated not only by their impotence but also by this description of steers laid out by Mike, “ They lead such a quiet life. They never say anything and they’re always hanging about” (Hemingway 146). Jake and Cohn are not valued because to society they are insignificant steers. To their social group they are not valued since they lose masculinity by being impotent. Brett on the other hand is quite promiscuous and sleeps with multiple guys in the novel and her friends respect her. They do not alienate her like they do Robert Cohn for his romantic ideals. These romantic ideals are what prevent Robert Cohn from having sex, this is not manly at all, in fact it’s almost feminine. They alienate him for valuing love because the rest of the group cares about sex. Brett is accepted in to their social group because of her masculinity, which is seen through her licentious attitude approaching sex. We can clearly see how bullfighting is essential to show the value of sex as it is a representation of masculinity, which has a direct correlation to social acceptance.
Additionally, bullfighting shows another characteristic of masculinity, which is bravery. This is evidently seen with the adulation for Romero when fighting with the...

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