The Sun Also Rises: How Not To Live A Fulfilling Life

1505 words - 6 pages

To live a fulfilling life, one must approach it with the right mindset. Although this may vary depending on the individual, one can assert that a few characteristics are common. These include living a life with purpose, staying strong to one's values, and being secure with one's choices and circumstance. In The Sun Also Rises, the main characters display personalities that are opposite to these traits. Cohn, Brett, and Jake seem to live comfortable lives in both France and Spain, but at the end of every day, they are left unsatisfied and empty inside because they approach life without real goals or consideration for growth. These characters also show lack of moral standards as they constantly demonstrate a lack of judgment and disregard for the consequences of their actions. Finally, they show insecurity in a variety of ways. The Sun Also Rises is an excellent example of how not to live one's life because through the personality traits of the main characters, it is apparent that they live everyday without a purpose, have deteriorating morals, and experience a great deal of insecurity.
The main characters of the novel live without any direction. They engage in activities such as drinking, watching bullfights, and attending bars trying to fill the gaps in their lives but they are always left feeling empty. Cohn complains to Jake that he is tired of living in France because there is nothing interesting to do, so he begs Jake to go with him to South America in hopes of a more interesting life. Jake refuses and claims, “going to another country doesn't make any difference. [He's] tried all that. [One] can't get away from [his or herself] by moving from one place to another. There's nothing to that" (11). It can be seen that Cohn's problem is not due to outside conditions: his emptiness is a consequence of his personality. Cohn further shows his inability of living fully by his ignorance that “nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bull-fighters" (10). Part of living a rewarding life is the ability to form deep relationships, and in particular, romantic ones. Both Brett and Jake seem to lack the motivation to build genuine relationships. Throughout the novel, Brett engages in many short-term sexual relationships, most not lasting more than a night. Her frequent and shallow affairs do not satisfy her desire for love because she always complains to Jake that she feels lonely. The last person when was in love with died during the war (39). This suggest that she will never be satisfied until she finds someone who is similar to him and this may be the cause of her inability to form romantic relationships. Throughout the story, Jake not only lacks the ability to form close romantic relationships with women, but he also despises the useless relationship he has with women and Brett in particular. He says that “[i]n the first
place, [one has] to be in love with a woman to have a basis of friendship. [He has] been having Brett for a friend”...

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