Bullfighting Symbolism in Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises'
Bullfighting’s contribution to the overall theme in the novel The Sun Also Rises can be looked at by comparing and contrasting a bull and a steer. The former is a fully mature male that is capable of copulation, on the other hand, a steer is a male that has been castrated and is incapable of intercourse. The bullfighting process as imagery in the novel is not subtle rather is extrapolates on the plot of the story in its entirety in that the bullfighter is a symbol of virility and passion. Much like the bull that is glorious, exciting, as well as dangerous, Brett falls for a bullfighter an extension of the sexuality that she associates with the act of bullfighting as a daring undertaking. In contrast, steers are humble creatures; they are safe, but more significantly, they are impotent. For that reason, steers are of no worth when compared to a bull. Much like the steer, the character Jake Barnes who is an impotent World War I veteran epitomizes the predicament that a steer finds itself in. In retrospect, the bullfighting scenario in its entirety ties in well with the overall theme of the novel surrounding egotism of masculine potency as an attribute of manliness strength without which one is less of a man or at least considered so.
The use of the word Aficion in the novel is meant to depict the hobby that the main characters in the story were often entangled in which was drinking wine and making merry. Despite the ravages of World War 1, and the aftermath of the devastation that it caused. The characters in the novel choose to make merry or what remains of their lives despite the difficulty or reality that faces them in finding true happiness. The climax of the novel brings to the fore the fiesta in Pamplona which is a tradition where locals participate in the festival. However, for the main characters in the novel the festival is more than just an amusement as it is a representation of the love web that they find themselves entangled. Much like the festival’s climax when bulls run off, Romero is the winner bull who manages to steal Brett away from her British admirers and run off with her. The climax of the novel is significant in the sense that it epitomizes the dominance of the bull as relates to Romero’s charm triumphing to win Brett’s love even though this does not last for long. The interpretation of the climax simply put is that the strong-willed such as Brett and Romero are the ones who are bull like in their character and, hence, the ones that end up loving one another or sharing their love at the end of the bull fighting festival by defeating or alluding other bulls or steers in regards to Romero and Brett’s roles respectively.
The sun also rises bullfighting
Bill, Mike, and Cohn can be said to be the steers in the novel while Romero, Jake, and Brett are the bulls. Despite Jake’s impotence, he achieves the impossible by making Brett affectionate towards him an attribute that Cohn who happens to be Brett’s fiancé finds quite impossible to achieve. Notably, Bill and Mike also take the form of steers in the novel since they also fail in their attempts to win Brett’s affection or at least notice. To that extent, the novel is depictive of characters of Bill and Mike and Cohn who are incapable of standing up to the challenge of winning Brett’s love and, hence, branded as the steers. In contrast, Jake and Romero are the only males that make a deliberate attempt at winning Brett’s heart. At first, Romero is the winner when he elopes with Brett in a fantasy passionate lover’s escapade after the culmination of the festival. However, it is Jake who Brett falls back on after things do not work out with Romero. To that extent, Jake and Romero are regarded as the bulls in the novel for their efforts towards winning Brett’s love. Equally, although Brett is female, her resilience and untameable nature also give her attributes of a bull. She brews conflict between men who fight over her affection and yet she does not falter or give in to any of them, in the end, portraying the strength of a bull by not being conquered. P
Essentially, Pedro Romero’s character is central to the theme of the story in that he epitomizes passion, desire, and most of all perfection as an object of Brett’s desire for a man. Pedro is the only male who Brett comes across who has all the qualities that she would want in a man. For instance, he is potent unlike Jake, he is passionate, unlike Cohn, he is also courageous, handsome, daring and in not so many words, Pedro is a bull. All these features make Pedro the one true love that Brett hoped to find from the disappointment that is the men in her life. However, Hemmingway proves this wrong when the relationship between Pedro and Brett fails. The failure of the relationships brings to the fore a core lesson that advances the importance of true love as an attribute that all characters in the novel lacked perhaps showing how the War brought with it deep rooted scars for each of the characters making it impossible for them to reconcile their wanting for love with the realities that faced them.
The sun also rises critical analysis
In the context of the bullfighting festival, the activity in itself is time filling more than it is a pass time. As such passing time is equivalent to time wastage where an individual has better things to do but instead lags or stalls instead of getting to it. On the other hand, filling time means that although there are better things to be done in the near future, the time for accomplishing such things has not come to pass. Hence, individuals are forced to wait for the right time by engaging in something else worthwhile. For the lost generation in the novel, bull fighting in the context of the festival is a good pass time, however, the symbolic connotation of the bull fighting presents a dilemma in that the fruitless conflict over Brett’s love is a poor way of spending time given the elusive nature of Brett’s character on matters affection in regards to settling for the perfect love that is nowhere near reality. Instead, the lost generation should look at the bullfighting as an event that they enjoy engaging in rather than one where they would compete against each other for the affection of their object or subject of desire, Brett.
In summary, book 2 of the novel ties together book 1 which is an introduction to the lives of the focal characters in the novel preparing the readers for book 2 where the climax of the story unfolds during the bullfighting festival. As such, book 2 links the story to book 3 where the resolution of the conflict culminates as characters in the novel find themselves in the realities that face them. The bullfighting in itself does not provide Jake healing either physically or psychologically based on his impotence and self-esteem, however, it brings him to the realization of his broken state owing to the War, and this gives him the strength to the fact his realities as they are and so do the other characters in the novel. Perhaps dealing with the true nature of the calamities that rippled from the War rather than drowning sorrows and regrets in wine drinking and merry making in the hopes of starting a new life by forgetting the impact of the War on the lives of the characters is the core message. As such, Hemmingway notes that the characters have no choice but to face the realities that stare them in their face rather than trying to manoeuvre around their problems and insecurities.
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