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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Dissatisfaction

People have fun in this book, but that’s about it – what’s missing is a lasting sense of contentment or satisfaction with life in general. The cause of this is the massive social...

Identity

This novel is just jam-packed with people who think they have their public images worked out, but really are just big old messes on the inside. Hemingway’s characters make a big show of being...

Men and Masculinity

Masculinity is somewhat problematic in the world of this novel. The insecurity of the central male characters produces an atmosphere of competition, rivalry, and mutual harassment, and we constantl...

Drugs and Alcohol

The characters in The Sun Also Rises are serious drinkers – they drink like it’s their job. Actually, alcoholism practically is a profession for one of the characters (Mike), a slacker...

Love

Ah, l’amour, l’amour. Of course a novel set in Paris (city of love, duh), involves love. However, don’t forget that this is not exactly the romantic, sentimental Paris we usually...

Man and the Natural World

There is an overwhelming sense that the modern world that Hemingway shows us runs the risk of drifting dangerously far from the natural world. The author sets up a clear-cut opposition between the...

Exile

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 satisfact...

Warfare

World War I is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to mention (yes, it occurred to us that this is probably the only time anyone has ever compared World War I to an elephant). When the war d...
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