The Sun Also Rises
This video discusses the important ladies of The Sun Also Rises…make that the one important lady. Brett is the only major female character in the novel, and she’s pretty complex. She’s in a lot of pain, but she also sort of treats men like toys. Is she a sympathetic character? Is she not? It’s up to you to decide—after watching this video.
|American Literature||20th-Century American Literature|
All American Literature
|Author||Hemingway - Ernest Hemingway|
Drugs and Alcohol
Man and the Natural World
Men and Masculinity
War and Warfare
…drinking wine and fishing and watching bullfights, which sounds like a pretty cushy
life to us.
The only downside for Jake is that a war wound has rendered him impotent. Ouch. Oh, and
he's in love with Brett.
Brett is...Well, she's something.
She's hot, sexy, smart, divorced, and enjoys spending quality time with the fellas. If
you know what we mean.
It's pretty obvious why Jake would have a thing for her.
Of course, every other male character in the book is in love with Brett, too, and that's
…her only purpose in life seems to be to create conflict among men.
We know from the get-go how Jake feels about Brett, and that he's felt this way for years.
Brett, however, is engaged to a guy named Mike. That's two guys.
Then there's Jake's friend Robert Cohn, who's recently had an affair with Brett. That's
Then Brett falls for a young Spanish matador named Romero. That's four guys.
Four guys. Where does she find the time?
All that testosterone gets unleashed in bickering, insults, and fisticuffs during the bullfights
at Pamplona. Way to stir up trouble there, Brett.
Yet there are reasons to feel sympathy for the lady.
Here she is, stirring up trouble across two countries, acting as if she has everything
…when in truth, she's been just as damaged by the war as Jake. She is vulnerable, even
if she doesn't want to show it.
Hemingway also makes it obvious that Brett is capable of great emotional depth.
She is so in love with the bullfighter Romero that she ditches her fiance to run off with
the young Spaniard.
Not that the relationship works out or anything, but still, E for effort.
Brett can be a difficult character to like.
Sure, she's beautiful and intelligent, but she can't help falling into bed with every
guy she sees, stirring up anger and jealousy.
She pretends to be debonair about her actions but, in truth, she's as damaged by the upheaval
of World War One as any of her male friends and conquests.
She clearly wants to be loved, and is capable of love, but seems unable to reconcile the
So, what do you think?
Is Brett unsympathetic?
Or does her love for Romero earn her some leeway?
Shmoop amongst yourselves.
This intro seems a little misleading. This is a little confusing since the question
is about Brett and then we jump into a totally different character.
I think the issue is more that she takes pleasure in it.