The Sun Also Rises

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Themes and Colors
The Lost Generation Theme Icon
Sport Theme Icon
Masculinity and Insecurity Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Sun Also Rises, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Though seldom mentioned, World War I hangs like a shadow over the characters in The Sun Also Rises. The war devastated Europe, wiping away empires and long-standing governments. Similarly, its brutal trench warfare and machine-driven killing made clear to all of its participants that the long-standing ideals of honor, courage, and stoicism were hollow and meaningless, as were the national identities that drove the countries of Europe to war in the first place. In short…

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From Robert Cohn the boxer to Pedro Romero the bullfighter, the characters of The Sun Also Rises compete and combat in various sporting events for honor and to impress the insatiable Brett. Whenever a trip is proposed, there is usually some sporting reason—Jake and Bill Gorton travel to Spain to fish, and the whole crowd is drawn to the bullfighting at the fiesta. Sport provides an escape for Jake and his friends from what…

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There is only one main female character in The Sun Also Rises, and the men circle around Brett like bees to honey, creating an atmosphere of rivalry between the male characters. The competition between the men is won and lost in different, often unpredictable, ways. Sometimes it is physical vigor that wins out, in the case of Romero. But sometimes physical strength is a liability. Robert Cohn strikes out at Mike, Bill

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The romantic partners in The Sun Also Rises change suddenly and frequently. The relationships are made and broken along the journey from country to country and, though marriage is sometimes mentioned, it is never actually attempted other than Cohn's disastrous and unhappy first marriage. The characters do not establish domestic lives for themselves. The nightly drinking parties and long leisurely meals in public places serve as the primary domestic activity of the novel. The occupations…

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The social scene in The Sun Also Rises takes place mostly in bars, cafes and restaurants. Between the meals and drinks are journeys along Parisian streets and across the square in Pamplona. For most of the novel, there is a noticeable lack of natural landscape. The action is urban and repetitive. There are descriptions of drinking and dialogue instead of the sky or the weather. There is also a sense that since the war, civilization…

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