THE SUN ALSO RISES introduced the "lost generation
." Set in Paris and Spain in the 1920s, the novel deals with a group of aimless expatriates, most of whom suffer psychological and physical wounds as a result of World War I.
The main characters, Lady Brett Ashley and Jake Barnes, typify what Hemingway saw as the moral and spiritual dissolution of his generation, the traditionally accepted ideals of faith, justice, and morality shattered by the war's violence. Brett drifts through a series of affairs despite her love for Jake, who is impotent due to a war wound. But her dalliances, like the other characters' aimless wanderings and constant drinking, bring no pleasure; at best, these meaningless diversions afford only a momentary respite from misery.Friendship, stoicism, and grace under pressure are offered as the values that matter in an otherwise amoral and senseless world. This is the Hemingway "code" of behavior: give in to despair only in private or in the company of someone who thinks the way you do; don't make trouble; and impose meaning on a meaningless universe by your ability to achieve form through ritual. The novel's central expression of heroism lies in the bullfights, which to Hemingway epitomize the hero's deliberate confrontation with death under the protection of ritual.
The plot is very loose, revolving around the characters' pain: Jake's wound, Brett's loss of her lover. Robert Cohn, an affluent American writer living in Paris, serves as a contrast to the other characters because he doesn't realized the importance of the war for his generation. Previous