Quote 3

“You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”

Jake says these words to Cohn in Chapter II when Cohn tries to convince him to travel to South America. Cohn feels dissatisfied with his life in Paris, and he believes that a change of location will fill the void he senses in his life. Jake knows that such reasoning is nonsense—Cohn’s unhappiness stems from his outdated values and his decadent lifestyle, which will not be any different anywhere else. As with the previous quote, Jake demonstrates a unique insight into the problems and activities of the postwar generation. Many of Jake’s friends, and indeed Jake himself, try to cure their unhappiness through constant travel, either on a small scale, from bar to bar, or on a large one, from country to country. Jake shows here that he knows that such travel is futile and ultimately purposeless. The discontent of the Lost Generation is psychological, not geographic.