The Sun Also Rises


Ernest Hemingway

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on The Sun Also Rises makes teaching easy.
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.
Sex and Love Theme Icon

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 and movements of the characters are aimless and restless. So, too, is love. It is avoided and ignored. But while the insecurities of the male characters cause them to avoid love and sex, Brett excels as a sexual being. She is healthy, charismatic, and lives like the ideal bachelor. She has sex without being married and without feeling ashamed. The typical attitudes of men and women have been troubled and upturned by the changes of wartime. The men have been shackled. Brett has been liberated.

At the same time, in her last lines of the novel, even Brett is revealed to yearn for love, with Jake. At numerous points in the novel it seems that Jake and Brett share a real love, and could be a true couple, if only Jake did not have the injury that made him impotent. And yet Jake, in his response, "Isn't it pretty to think so," dashes even that idea. In his response he is saying that the only reason Brett, Jake himself, or anyone else could imagine that their love might be perfect, might be an answer to all the meaninglessness of postwar life, is because his injury makes it impossible. If Jake was not injured and a relationship between he and Brett were possible, he is saying, it wouldn't end any better than any of her other relationships. And so The Sun Also Rises ends with the suggestions that just like all the other ideals obliterated by World War I, love, too, is no answer to the emptiness of the lost generation and perhaps, more broadly, to the emptiness of life.

Related Themes from Other Texts
Compare and contrast themes from other texts to this theme…

Sex and Love ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Sex and Love appears in each chapter of The Sun Also Rises. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
How often theme appears:
chapter length:
Get the entire The Sun Also Rises LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Sun Also Rises PDF

Sex and Love Quotes in The Sun Also Rises

Below you will find the important quotes in The Sun Also Rises related to the theme of Sex and Love.
Chapter 6 Quotes
"Just try and be calm. I know it's hard. But remember, it's for literature. We all ought to make sacrifices for literature. Look at me. I'm going to England without a protest. All for literature." – Frances
Related Characters: Frances Clyne (speaker)
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
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
Related Literary Devices:
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes
"Oh, Jake,' Brett said, "we could have had such a damned good time together." Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
"Yes," I said. "Isn't it pretty to think so?"
Related Characters: Jake Barnes (speaker), Lady Brett Ashley (speaker)
Related Literary Devices:
Page Number: 250
Explanation and Analysis: