What does the novel’s title mean?

The title The Sun Also Rises is an allusion to a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes, one which emphasizes the cyclical nature of time and offers the promise of rebirth. For a novel primarily focused on the emptiness of the Lost Generation, this choice may initially seem ironic. By referencing a more optimistic image in the title, however, Hemingway is able to hint at the possibility that a meaningful future may one day be possible.

Why is Jake unable to be with Brett?

Although never mentioned explicitly, the subtext of Jake and Brett’s private discussion in Chapter 4 offers hints as to why they cannot sustain a relationship. They love each other deeply, but an injury that Jake suffered during the war has rendered him impotent. The pair’s discussion implies that Brett is unwilling to give up sex in order to be with Jake, a choice which adds to their sense of misery throughout the novel. Revealing their inability to be together early in the narrative emphasizes the futility of their search for happiness elsewhere.

What does bullfighting symbolize in the novel?

As one of the most notable components of the novel, bullfighting emerges as a key symbol of traditional masculinity, sexual tension, and the former glory of war. The bullfighting scenes are interspersed between key conversations among Jake and his friends, often foreshadowing the drama involving Brett and her love interests. Bullfighting highlights Romero’s dominance, strength, and charisma, for example, and this macho identity is what initially attracts Brett’s attention. Hemingway also uses sexualized language to describe the violent fights, further emphasizing the connection between sex and destruction. Finally, the glorifying nature of the bullfights contrasts significantly with the horrors of modern warfare and invites nostalgia for the heroic nature of past battles.