Ernest Hemingway makes a point to address the “New Woman” in the post war world through out his novel “The Sun Also Rises”. As Jake and friends wander through life as the lost generation they all face individual and group struggles with their promiscuous friend Brett, also known as Lady Ashley. Through Brett, Hemingway portrays a theme of anti-feminism and emasculation through the way Brett looks, acts, and the relationship she has with Jake in particular along with other male characters. In addition, there is an element of insecurity among central male characters that produces an atmosphere of competition, rivalry, and mutual harassment. With this as a base, Brett’s manner only fuel tensions between the male characters and in the process leads to their emasculation through each individuals pursuit of Brett.
The first character is Cohn, he is a determined writer and after writing his first novel, he has feeling of conquest and determination. Hemingway opens with an illustrated view of Cohn to show a clear example of a dominant male figure who has much insecurity. Hemingway describes how Cohn took his anger and aggression out through boxing, a very maculate form of aggression and power. Hemingway plays up the tensions of competition and jealousies to demonstrate just how uncertain his male characters are with themselves and one another. The shared sense of insecurity among many of the book’s central male characters suggests a redefinition of masculinity post-WWI and Brett exemplifies these traits each man displays.
Brett’s true character and intentions are truly exhibited in Hemingway’s illustration of Brett’s’ actions. Brett’s emasculation of the men around her is fully shown throughout the novel. She is first introduced to us at a gay strip club, which only begins to explain her insecurities. Hemming way illustrates her as, “She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy’s. She was built with curves like the hull of a racing yacht, and you missed none of it with that wool jersey.” (30) Clearly even Jake sees her masculinity yet Jake and the rest of the characters of the novel fall head over heals for this masculine female, who will eventually lead to their own masculine demise.
In each situation she denies responsibility of her actions and realizes all the affects of her actions first hand. For example the fight between Jake and Cohn, which leads to her witnessing of Cohn and Romero fighting and then her eventual dismissal of Cohn. While none of this fighting is warranted, the catalyst for these events is Brett. And as a result Brett works out her guilt, which she is fully aware of, by tending to the sick and wounded. Brett is fully aware of her power and the will of her sexuality and promiscuous ways that can be place upon a man. “What If Brett did sleep with you? She’s slept with lots of better people than you.”(146) Brett’s lack of commitments is another example of her fight against...