The Sun Also Rises
How we cite our quotes:
"I got hurt in the war," I said.
"Oh, that dirty war."
We would probably have gone on and discussed the war and agreed that it was in reality a calamity for civilization, and perhaps would have been better avoided. I was bored enough. Just then from the other room someone called: "Barnes! I say Barnes! Jacob Barnes!" (3.9)
The banal discussion of the war that Jake and Georgette narrowly escape is one that’s unsatisfactory and not comprehensive. We get the feeling that there’s a lot more to be said about the war, but nobody knows how to communicate it yet.
"When did she marry Ashley?"
"During the war. Her own true love had just kicked off with the dysentery."
"You talk sort of bitter."
"Sorry. I didn’t mean to. I was just trying to give you the facts." (5.8)
A lot of things happen in wartime that should not otherwise come to pass – in this case, the marriage of Brett to Lord Ashley. We have to wonder if Jake’s telling the whole truth… we know that he is in fact Brett’s "own true love" (in her words and his) and that she can’t marry him because of his handicap. Hmm…
"My dear, I am sure Mr. Barnes has seen a lot. Don’t think I don’t think so, sir. I have seen a lot, too."
"Of course you have, my dear," Brett said. "I was only ragging."
"I have been in seven wars and four revolutions," the count said.
"Soldiering?" Brett asked.
"Sometimes, my dear. And I have got arrow wounds. Have you ever seen arrow wounds?" (7.18)
The count’s definition of "seen a lot" is associated with war – as though war is the only real experience a man can have.