The Sun Also Rises: The Indefinite Pronoun "It"

Essay by therevengeHigh School, 11th gradeA+, July 2004

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In the novel The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway uses the indefinite pronoun "it" to express the idea that simple, insignificant words can show a surreptitious meaning that the reader may have been unaware of. As the novel reaches the end, Jake Barnes, the main character, states to his companion, Lady Brett Ashley, "Isn't it pretty to think so?" The meaning behind the word "it" is presented to the reader in a form that requires some ingenuity to decipher the intent that Hemingway had on placing that word in that final line.

Throughout the course of the novel the word "it" is used constantly; Hemingway uses this word sometimes to bridge a verb and a noun to form a sentence, or he uses the word "it" to describe a special, clandestine idea that can only be understood by carefully reading between the lines. The meaning of "it" varies throughout the novel and takes on different forms depending on how each character uses the word to describe a certain idea, action, or motive.

The reader may make the assumption that Hemingway purposely added the word "it" into distinct scenes to

make the novel more open to the reader's interpretation rather then the author's idea of what should be happening in the novel; hence, the idea that there are many meanings to the word "it."

Obviously, the word "it" has an impact on the story presented in the novel, however, "it" shows a more vibrant presentation in the last line of the novel. The reader may assume that Hemingway simply meant that in a dream state, Lady Brett Ashley and Jake could remain together without any difficulties in their relationship and without any problems with impotency; something that plagues Jake's everyday life. On the other hand, the reader may assume...