AP English Language and Composition
April 7, 2014
If Not Love, Then What?
"True love always makes a man better, no matter what woman inspires it" as posited by Alexander Dumas. What the great French writer Dumas meant here is that one man's character is dependent on none other than true love. Yet, love itself, is too often arbitrarily obtained and meagerly sustained. The "truth of the matter" lies amongst the relationships found in the works of Ernest Hemingway (Gibran). Dumas's rather assertive view is contradicted through the relationships of the valiant soldier Frederic Henry and Catherine Baker, the dutiful demolitionist Robert Jordan and Maria, and the honest journalist Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. By closely juxtaposing primary male-dominating characters with secondary female supporting characters, Hemingway effectively demonstrates the potential for love to be subversive and undermining to one's happiness in his novels.
In A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bells Tolls, and The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway utilizes the fragile and superficial relationships to prove that relationships built upon sexual lust will end in unhappiness, sufferings, and ultimately death.
In The Sun Also Rises, the multiple affairs between Lady Brett Ashley and the other male characters exemplify the sexual promiscuousness of an attractive female to her male counterparts that eventually lead to unhappiness. The relationship between Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley is initially proven to be based upon sexual desires when Brett Ashley quickly disregards Jake as a potential husband because of his infertility. One afternoon at the local coffee shop, Jake says to Lady Brett Ashley,"You are getting damned romantic", and Brett Ashely responds "no, bored" (120). Jake's mere personality does not impress Brett Ashley as she yearns more for a man who is able...