The Sun Also Rises is fictional of a Lost Generation

Question: The Sun Also Rises is fictional of a Lost Generation- evaluate.


“The Sun Also Rises” published in 1926 is a modernist novel by Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961). “Lost Generation” is the major theme of the novel. Through Jake, his friends, and acquaintances, the novel depicts the lost generation.

Meaning and history of the phrase “Lost Generation”

The phrase “Lost Generation” has first coined by Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) who was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector. She heard the phrase in a French garage when she went there for repairing her car. This phrase came of age during World War 1. Lost in this context means disoriented, wandering, and directionless. It was a recognition that there were great confusion and aimlessness among the war’s survivors in the early post-war years. The term is particularly used to refer to a group of artists and especially American expatriate writers who lived in Paris during the 1920s.

Time and place setting perspective

The time setting of the novel is the 1920s. it is very essential to handle the term lost generation. Though the place setting of the novel primely in Spain primarily it is Paris. Thus, the novel maintains a place in history not only for its literary merits but also for its documentation of what writer Gertrude Stein called the “Lost Generation”.

Group of characters

The phrase “Lost Generation” badly demands a group of characters who must be artistic expatriates from America. “The Sun Also Rises” deals with such a group of characters who are war survivors and writers. Jake Barnes who is the protagonist of the novel is an impotent war survivor. Robert Cohn is the Jewish writer of Jake from Princeton united states of America. So, from the context of the art of characterization of the novel is a chronicle of ‘lost generation’.

The lifestyle of the characters

Ernest Hemingway has the power to paint society as it demands. After WWI many Americans left their country to fetch out a better future and came to Europe particularly in France. The mixed group of characters of the novel is the emblem of the “Lost Generation”. They lead a bohemian life of sexual and drinking pleasure without any certain aim or direction. They perform whatever they wish whether it is wrong or right. The protagonist of the novel Jake is impotent one who does have any power for sexual intercourse but steps to excite Brett (Lady Ashley) who is one of the members of the lost generation. He has to suffer a lot from this. A brief interchange between Brett and Jake proves this.

“You are getting damned romantic.”

“No, bored.”

Such a tendency for physical pleasure is the lifestyle of a lost generation. Besides, they are so bohemian and directionless that they cannot be stable anywhere for a long time. Robert Cohn and Brett seduce each other and could never think of a settlement. The unhappy and mentally disordered mentality of war-wounded people is represented by Cohn.


“I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast

and I’m not really living it”

Actually, they hanker after happiness by roaming from one place to another. They frequently change their life partner in quest of happiness. The novel is replete with such illustrations from beginning to end.

Confusion as to all spheres of life and society

Confusion is the fundamental result of life after any war. The war that has been talked about is the gigantic first world war which took 40 million lives as its cost, Because of the maintenance of melodramatic relationship the war-wounded people are not only confused about spheres of life but also devoid of true connection of life, They do not have the morality of life but have the confusion about morality.

“That was morality, things that made you disgusted afterward.

No, that must be immortality”

Such confusion about the morality and immorality of the protagonist is part of his general disillusionment. Actually, the war shaped the mentality of the characters and led them to a state of permanent drunkenness and a constant search for something more. From the start to the end of the novel, it is implied that Jake’s wound is the cause of his troubles.

One of the last sentences in the novel by Brett states:

“Oh Jake, we could have had such a

damned good time together”.

This conclusion is the affirmation that if there was no war, there was no wound of Jake and they could accept each other as partners.


We can relate that the novel “The Sun Also Rises” is a chronicle of the “Lost Generation” from top to bottom since the novel is filled with confusion and aimlessness.

S Ridoy Kumar
S Ridoy Kumar
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