The Sun Also Rises

by

Ernest Hemingway

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The Sun Also Rises: Tone 1 key example

Definition of Tone
The tone of a piece of writing is its general character or attitude, which might be cheerful or depressive, sarcastic or sincere, comical or mournful, praising or critical, and so on. For instance... read full definition
The tone of a piece of writing is its general character or attitude, which might be cheerful or depressive, sarcastic or sincere, comical or mournful, praising or critical... read full definition
The tone of a piece of writing is its general character or attitude, which might be cheerful or depressive, sarcastic or sincere, comical... read full definition
Chapter 2
Explanation and Analysis:

Hemingway's tone in The Sun Also Rises is mournful and bitterly ironic. At times, Jake’s narration verges on outright cynicism. A prime example of this tone appears in Chapter 19, when Jake finally loses his patience with his unrequited love for Brett after sending her an affectionate telegram:

That seemed to handle it. That was it. Send a girl off with one man. Introduce her to another to go off with him. Now go and bring her back. And sign the wire with love. That was it all right. I went to lunch.

The harsh sarcasm of Hemingway’s clipped sentences—“that was it”, and “that was it all right”—convey this bitter tone and encapsulate the complexity of Jake’s emotion as a would-be-lover of Brett continually playing match-maker on account of his own impotence. The curt directness of his narration and dialogue, meanwhile, also conveys his inability to articulately express this emotion. Per Hemingway’s “iceberg” style of writing, it is up to readers to spot it for themselves.

Early on in the book, in Chapter 2, the reader also has a chance to see firsthand how Hemingway perceives his contemporaries and their most intimate relationships as fickle and deeply flawed:

He had married on the rebound from the rotten time he had in college, and Frances took him on the rebound from his discovery that he had not been everything to his first wife. He was not in love yet but he realized that he was an attractive quantity to women, and that the fact of a woman caring for him and wanting to live with him was not simply a divine miracle. This changed him so that he was not so pleasant to have around.

Jake’s cynicism about Cohn’s marriage is on full display in this passage, and his snark is focused on Cohn’s manipulation of Frances and generally disagreeable demeanor. Hemingway’s tone reflects the spirit of the time—the Great War had ravaged the bodies and minds of so many people, leading them to spend the succeeding decade in unfulfilling, problem-ridden relationships all while grappling with the trauma sustained in the war without any particular skills to do so. The bitterness, paired with Hemingway’s recurrent wry humor reflect the disillusionment of his characters as they drink, sleep, fight, and try to keep on living.

Chapter 19
Explanation and Analysis:

Hemingway's tone in The Sun Also Rises is mournful and bitterly ironic. At times, Jake’s narration verges on outright cynicism. A prime example of this tone appears in Chapter 19, when Jake finally loses his patience with his unrequited love for Brett after sending her an affectionate telegram:

That seemed to handle it. That was it. Send a girl off with one man. Introduce her to another to go off with him. Now go and bring her back. And sign the wire with love. That was it all right. I went to lunch.

The harsh sarcasm of Hemingway’s clipped sentences—“that was it”, and “that was it all right”—convey this bitter tone and encapsulate the complexity of Jake’s emotion as a would-be-lover of Brett continually playing match-maker on account of his own impotence. The curt directness of his narration and dialogue, meanwhile, also conveys his inability to articulately express this emotion. Per Hemingway’s “iceberg” style of writing, it is up to readers to spot it for themselves.

Early on in the book, in Chapter 2, the reader also has a chance to see firsthand how Hemingway perceives his contemporaries and their most intimate relationships as fickle and deeply flawed:

He had married on the rebound from the rotten time he had in college, and Frances took him on the rebound from his discovery that he had not been everything to his first wife. He was not in love yet but he realized that he was an attractive quantity to women, and that the fact of a woman caring for him and wanting to live with him was not simply a divine miracle. This changed him so that he was not so pleasant to have around.

Jake’s cynicism about Cohn’s marriage is on full display in this passage, and his snark is focused on Cohn’s manipulation of Frances and generally disagreeable demeanor. Hemingway’s tone reflects the spirit of the time—the Great War had ravaged the bodies and minds of so many people, leading them to spend the succeeding decade in unfulfilling, problem-ridden relationships all while grappling with the trauma sustained in the war without any particular skills to do so. The bitterness, paired with Hemingway’s recurrent wry humor reflect the disillusionment of his characters as they drink, sleep, fight, and try to keep on living.

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