Study Guide

The Sun Also Rises Writing Style

By Ernest Hemingway

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Writing Style

Terse, Economical, Journalistic

These three words are often used to describe Hemingway’s distinctive prose style. He turns away from the lush, rich style of his precursors, or even of some of his contemporaries (contrast The Sun Also Rises to his friend Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Great Gatsby, published a year earlier). Instead, he went HAM on the short sentences:

"Have any fun last night?" I asked.

"No, I don’t think so."

"How’s the writing going?"

"Rotten. I can’t get this second book going."

"That happens to everyone."

"Oh. I’m sure of that. It just gets me worried, though." (5.7)

See what we mean? If you take out all the super-adult stuff (drinking, war, sex, loneliness, etc) this book scans kind of like an I-Can-Read Book: See Jane run. Run, Jane, run.

Hemingway learned a lot from his brief time as a journalist, and he introduced elements of newspaper style into the genre of the novel. The Sun Also Rises was the first serious work to really introduce Hemingway’s trademark voice to the world at large, and he immediately earned both praise and condemnation for it. In this novel, we see Hemingway employ short, simple sentences and snappy, realistic dialogue to create a novel that moves quickly and practically—we can actually feel the action of the text as it happens.

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