Nationality is a funny thing in The Sun Also Rises. While all of its characters are defined partially by their roots, there is an overwhelming sense that national boundaries are no longer satisfactory in the aftermath of the Great War. The community we encounter in the novel is one of American and British expatriates living in France, in self-imposed exile from their respective homelands. The pressing need for escape, self-invention, and individuation from one’s country plays into the choices of the characters Hemingway shows us, as well as the fractured and unstable image of society he portrays.
Hemingway’s expatriates are responding to the unsettling sense that the old order of the world no longer applies in the wake of the First World War.