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.
Nature Theme Icon

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 has been moving away from nature and from natural experiences. The characters are dissatisfied with city life and suggest trip after trip to try to find satisfaction, but these urban rituals keep repeating themselves, until Jake's brief excursions into nature, which give momentary peace and escape. There are several of these excursions, including the bullfight, with its display of the violence of nature, and Jake's trip to the sea, where he steps out into the water and finds simple pleasure in being able to see only the sky around him. Then there is also the fishing trip that Jake takes with Bill, which Hemingway describes in language that lacks the undercurrents of emptiness and dissatisfaction present in the city scenes. "This is country," says Bill as they arrive in the beautiful area they have chosen for their fishing – both men feel that the natural landscape has something real and essential in it that the town does not have.

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Nature ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Nature appears in each chapter of The Sun Also Rises. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Nature Quotes in The Sun Also Rises

Below you will find the important quotes in The Sun Also Rises related to the theme of Nature.
Chapter 4 Quotes
I passed Ney's statue standing among the new-leaved chetnut trees in the arc-light. […] He looked very fine, Marshal Ney in his top-boots, gesturing with his sword among the green new horse-chetnut leaves. – Jake
Related Characters: Jake Barnes (speaker)
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

This observation of Jake’s comes not long after a critical conversation with Brett in which the two confessed their love for each other and tried, uncomfortably, to inject some humor into the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Jake’s war injuries.

Jake’s insecurities about his masculinity are still on his mind.This scene finds Jake admiring a statue of Marshal Ney, paying particular attention to the way Ney’s image interacts with the surrounding trees. Marshal Ney is a famous French military commander, noted for his tremendous bravery. Ney is thus an historical figure who seems to epitomize masculinity; Jake’s appreciation (even if it seems somewhat bitter) for this statue betrays a sense of awe, even envy, at Ney’s typically masculine characteristics. In particular, Jake seems taken by Ney’s sword—the quintessential phallic symbol—and says that the man himself is looking “fine” as he proudly wields it. Having just escaped a conversation with Brett that reminded Jake of his impotence, this statue, though subtler in its impact, accomplishes something similar.

It’s worth considering where we find this emblem of masculinity—Ney’s statue is removed from the scene of socializing, drinking and partying, and is instead alone in the middle of some chestnut trees, as if in a forest. Idealized masculinity and nature often appear together in The Sun Also Rises, perhaps most clearly in Jake’s love of bull fighting.


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It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night is another thing. – Jake
Related Characters: Jake Barnes (speaker)
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

In Jake’s most vulnerable moments, he expresses a pain common to many WWI veterans of the “Lost Generation” but rarely spoken of. Spending time out and about during the day, working and socializing, shields Jake from these dangers of introspection. He puts on a tough front, giving the impression of strength to those around him—acting "hard-boiled about everything." His wounds are, quite literally, hidden—with clothing on no one can see his injuries from the war.

Nighttime solitude enforces a kind of self-reflection, however: when you’re alone, you have to face your reality, and what you may be able to hide from others, you can’t hide from yourself. Jake has to face his wounds as he changes into bedtime clothes and sleeps alone, at least in part, out of shame. Though able in some respects to conceal the lasting effects of war, the physical and psychological damages persist.

Jake may hope to appear thoroughly masculine at every turn, but his emotional fragility here seems more closely associated with (what he might deem) femininity. And just as Jake is crying alone in his bed, a boyish, short-haired Brett—also a boy’s name—comes barging into his room after making a ruckus downstairs, and gives the impression of being more in control of her emotions than Jake. Hemingway seems to be deliberately undermining our expectations about gender. Brett, here, is the source of emotional strength: when she departs, Jake goes back to feeling awful, expressing in this final sentence his struggle for any kind of stability.

Chapter 12 Quotes
"You're an expatriate. You've lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see. You hang around cafés."– Bill
Related Characters: Bill Gorton (speaker), Jake Barnes
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

Jake and Bill wake up in the small town of Burguete where they will be staying during their fishing trip, and as they are having their coffee, Bill launches into a humorous rant about American perceptions of expatriates.

Here, “soil” most directly refers to America, but it also connotes nature, meaning that Bill’s use of the word “expatriate” takes on an interesting double meaning—it seems to connect their departure from a nation (“country” in one sense) to a departure from the land itself (“country” in another sense). Out in nature, these two men find some sense of purpose, lost in the aimlessness of urban life: when they commit themselves to fishing, for example, their work provides tangible rewards. Bill opines that life in Paris promotes the opposite—laziness—and provides nothing but meaningless distractions. If the expatriates seem lost, it’s because they’ve lost touch with their roots, so to speak.