Lit Crit: The Sun Also Rises
In Ernest Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises, a different style of writing is clearly evident. To go along with this unique style, we see an unusual structure demonstrated throughout the novel. In William L. Vance’s “Implications of Form in The Sun Also Rises,” he addresses this structure and analyzes the writing much deeper than most would while reading.
William L. Vance’s analysis focuses on the “episodic and circular aspects of the structure.” This is very evident for readers to realize after reading of the characters common actions. In the life of Jake, Robert, and the other characters of the novel it seems as though they follow the same routine from day to day. These routines include “drinking and bullfight watching for all, sex for some, and fishing for the rest. And talk and ...view middle of the document...
William Vance uses Robert Cohn as the prime example of this misery due to his constant desire for Brett. His attraction to her is very intense to the point that “he appears ridiculous.” Robert’s reoccurring feelings for Brett fit the circular and constant motions due to the fact that his feelings for her always return no matter what Brett is up to and how down he truly is.
Brett is the main character that illustrates the circular structure. William Vance brings up the large amount of episodes that Brett goes through. These episodes involved different men, and the one with Robert that intensified his unattainable feelings. This circular structure created by Brett is completed when she returns back to Jake who was her true love. This circle Brett traveled around was completed when she wished “to [have] something more that an episode” (true love).
William Vance brings up The Great Gatsby to relate “Gatsby’s attempt to fulfill his romantic expectations” to the episodic characters of The Sun Also Rises. Jake and Robert both relate to Gatsby in what they are seeking for. All three men wish to obtain love which is unattainable because of the lack of attraction coming from the female. This fact seems harder for Robert to handle, possibly because he “expects life to have meaning and sequence.” On the contrary, Jake’s “episodic view of life” allows him to live his life and not dwell in the past, while waiting for a new episode that favors him. It is clear to see that it is made very evident by William L. Vance that Ernest Hemingway uses the relationships of the characters in The Sun Also Rises to illustrate the “episodic and circular aspects of the structure” of his novel.
Vance, William L. “Implications of Form in The Sun Also Rises.” The Twenties, Poetry and Prose: Twenty Critical Essays. Ed. Richard E. Langford and William E. Taylor. Everett Edwards Press, Inc., 1966.