The Sun Also Rises

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The Sun Also Rises Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway grew up outside a suburb of Chicago, spending summers with his family in rural Michigan. After high school, he got a job writing for The Kansas City Star, but left after only six months to join the Red Cross Ambulance Corps during World War I, where he was injured and awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valor. Afterward, he lived in Ontario and Chicago, where he met his first wife, Hadley Richardson. In 1921 they moved to Paris, where he began a long friendship with F. Scott Fitzgerald and other ex-patriot American writers of the "lost generation." After the 1926 publication of his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, he divorced Hadley and married Arkansas native Pauline Pfeiffer. The couple moved to Florida, where Hemingway wrote A Farewell to Arms (1929), which became a bestseller. Hemingway finally moved to Spain to serve as a war correspondent in the Spanish Civil War, a job that inspired his famous 1939 novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. After its publication, he met his third wife, Martha Gellhorn. Hemingway married his fourth and final wife, Mary Hemingway, in 1946, and the couple spent the next fourteen years living in Cuba. After a final move to Idaho, Hemingway took his own life in 1961, following in the footsteps of his father who had committed suicide in 1928. Hemingway left behind his wife and three sons.
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Historical Context of The Sun Also Rises

World War I transformed Europe. It re-drew the map, destroying Empires (the Ottoman Empire, The Austro-Hungarian Empire) and annihilated Europe's conception of itself as a finely balanced set of national powers that would never descend into total war. With its dehumanizing machine-based and trench warfare, the war also profoundly changed people's understanding of war, from something that could be heroic to something that could not. Hemingway fought in the First World War as a young man and suffered both a physical injury, the transformation of his own thoughts and ideals in the face of that experience, and the anguish of realizing that many of those who did not experience the war still held to those romantic visions of the war. In the post-war years, Hemingway also experienced many of the same things his characters in The Sun Also Rises do: he was a journalist for the Toronto Star, was an expatriate living in Paris, and took several trips to various European cities.

Other Books Related to The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises has two quotes as its epigraph that point to some of Hemingway's influences. One is Gertrude Stein's "You are all a lost generation". Stein and her modernist style and values were a big influence on Hemingway, and she coined the term "lost generation" that has come to define the themes of this and so many novels from the twenties. The other epigraph quote is a passage from the Bible's book of Ecclesiastes, which is also the source of the novel's title, in the line "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down". This quote, which comments on the fact that despite the passing of generations, the earth and its normal rhythms remain—a new day will always dawn—offering a note of optimism to the novel, that the lost generation may not be lost forever. Hemingway lived and worked among a host of other American, expatriate, modernist writers in Paris, and was surrounded by bold new voices in literature, like Stein, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, as well as cutting-edge painters of the time like Pablo Picasso. The Sun also Rises is part of a family of works from the modernist period that deal with the post-war sense, of the generation who experienced World War I, of restlessness and being lost. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein, and The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot are other examples of literature dealing with these themes.
Key Facts about The Sun Also Rises
  • Full Title: The Sun Also Rises
  • When Written: Between the summer of 1925 and the winter of 1926.
  • Where Written: Pamplona, Spain and Paris, France
  • When Published: October 1926
  • Literary Period: Modernism
  • Genre: Post-war; expatriate; modernist
  • Setting: Paris, France; Pamplona, Spain; and various other Spanish and French towns in 1924.
  • Climax: Cohn fighting with Jake and Mike during the fiesta in Pamplona
  • Antagonist: No single character serves as an antagonist; perhaps the most accurate description of an antagonist would be the meaninglessness of post-war living
  • Point of View: First person; Jake tells the story in the past tense

Extra Credit for The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Rises Over and Over Again. The Sun Also Rises has inspired many works of art, and many other writers have been influenced by its short, sparse prose style. And not only that—the characters of The Sun Also Rises continue to live on through different media: in 1956, the novel was made into a screenplay of the same name by Peter Viertel, and in 2013, was adapted for dance by The Washington Ballet.