The Sun Also Rises

by

Ernest Hemingway

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Sun Also Rises can help.

The Sun Also Rises: Imagery 2 key examples

Definition of Imagery
Imagery, in any sort of writing, refers to descriptive language that engages the human senses. For instance, the following lines from Robert Frost's poem "After Apple-Picking" contain imagery that engages... read full definition
Imagery, in any sort of writing, refers to descriptive language that engages the human senses. For instance, the following lines from Robert Frost's poem "After... read full definition
Imagery, in any sort of writing, refers to descriptive language that engages the human senses. For instance, the following lines... read full definition
Chapter 3
Explanation and Analysis—Sound and Light in Paris:

Hemingway expertly employs both visual and auditory imagery to establish the scene of Paris at night in Chapter 3:

It was a warm spring night and I sat at a table on the terrace of the Neapolitan after Robert had gone, watching it get dark and the electric signs come on, and the red and green stop-and-go traffic-signal, and the crowd going by, and the horse-cabs clippety-clopping along at the edge of the solid taxi traffic [...]

As Jake takes in his surroundings, his quiet loneliness becomes clear as his attention meanders around his surroundings. Hemingway establishes clear visual imagery of the falling night with the lighting of the electric signs and the alternating red and green lights of the traffic signal, while the use of the onomatopoeic phrase “clippety-clopping” provides clear auditory imagery of the horse-cabs passing him by. Jake is normally caught up in conversation, drinking, or some other form of debauchery, but Hemingway clearly marks the occasional moments of his isolation by shifting his narration from interpersonal observation and judgement to vivid descriptions of his surroundings, and the use of imagery in this passage ultimately helps readers fully immerse themselves in the Parisian environment at night.

Chapter 15
Explanation and Analysis—The Sounds of the Fiesta:

Hemingway wields imagery as a key literary device with which to construct his striking scenes of Jake’s expatriate life in France and Spain. Depicting the beginning of the festival in Pamplona in Chapter 15, Hemingway makes ample use of auditory imagery:

People were coming into the square from all sides, and down the street we heard the pipes and the fires and the drums coming. They were playing the riau-riau music, the pipes shrill and the drums pounding, and behind them came the men and boys dancing. When the fifers stopped they all crouched down in the street, and when the reed-pipes and the fifes shrilled, and the flat, dry, hollow drums tapped it out again, they all went up in the air dancing.

In this passage, the coming of the festival is marked by the rising cacophony of the music in the streets. Through repeating evocative sound-related words (like the “shrill” pipes and the “pounding” or “tapping” of the drums), Hemingway builds this scene to convey the cacophonous effect of standing in such a chaotic and lively environment, enabling readers to better imagine themselves in the same situation. In other words, the auditory imagery at play in this passage enables the text to match the intensity of Jake’s experience at the festival.

Unlock with LitCharts A+