Ernest Hemingway, one of the most celebrated and most controversial of modern American writers in the twentieth century, is considered a literary and stylistic genius of the century. No other American writers have ever equaled the popular success and worldwide reputation during his lifetime. He gets the status of an international celebrity and has been generally regarded as one of the most representative spokesman of the “Lost Generation”. In 1954, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature for “his mastery of the art of modern narration”. Hemingway centers successfully his novels on special experiences and affections. He introduces a new type of character called the “code hero”. Hemingway is famous for expressing “code hero” who struggles with the mixture of their tragic faults and environment. He loves to select bullfighters, hunters, soldiers, and fishermen as his protagonists in the works; these male characters fight against the doomed failure with their great willpower in this world that is filled with hostility. The image of Jake Barnes as a Code Hero in The Sun Also Rises is most famous.
I. Hemingway, a Spokesman of “Lost Generation”1.1 Hemingway's LifeHemingway was born in a comfortable middle-class family in Oak Park, Illinois, on July 21, 1899. His father was a physician with a passion for hunting and fishing. His mother, on the contrary, was interested in culture and arts. His parents, completely different in characters and interests, were both stubborn and self-opinionated. Therefore, Hemingway formed a character mixed by bravery and an artistic temperament. Behind the seeming blessing was a curse for Hemingway. The contradictory educational styles actually had a negative effect on immature Hemingway’s mind. When Hemingway was a high school student, his attitudes towards life were mainly positive. He believed that one could succeed as long as one made great efforts. Ideal, energy, plus the political propaganda, made the young generation, including Hemingway himself, see thing with righteousness. He and a lot of ardent youngsters enlisted and went to the battlefield in Europe, harboring an ideal of the salvation of democracy. But World War I changed them greatly. Hemingway was seriously injured during the war. His wound and the cruelty of the war tortured him for the rest of his life. In addition, the failure of his first real romance saddened him for a long time, making him develop a feeling of distrust or, more exactly, hatred about woman. It is one of the reasons why most Hemingway’s works belong to man’s world. The years after the war witnessed the doubt about conventional morality and the emergence of new trends of thoughts in America. The American society of the 1920s was an aureate symphony with the taste of money and desire. In 1926 he came out with his first true novel, The Sun Also Rises. After it published, he became as the spokesman of “the lost Generation”. And in this novel, the image of the protagonist, Jake Barnes, was conceded as the first Code Hero’s image in Hemingway’s works. And in 1942 he volunteered himself and his fishing boot for various projects to the Navy and cruised off the coast of Cuba. On October 28, Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for literature, and died on July 2, 1961.1.2The Story of The Sun Also RisesThe Sun Also Rises is much more narrator Jake Barnes's memory of war than has been recognized, in terms of landscape, imagery allusions, and a recurring story of wounding. It opens with the narrator, Jake Barnes, delivering a brief biographical sketch of his friend, Robert Cohn. Jake is a veteran of World War I who now works as a journalist in Paris. Cohn is also an American expatriate, although not a war veteran. He is a rich Jewish writer who lives in Paris with his forceful and controlling girlfriend, Frances Clyne. Robert Cohn is an immature, emotionally weak member of the group. He is strongly dependent on everyone and is full of self-pity. He has become restless of late, and he comes to Jake’s office one afternoon to try to convince Jake to go with him to South America. Jake refuses, and he takes pains to get rid of Cohn. That night at a dance club, Jake runs into Brett，Lady Ashley, a near-nymphomaniac Englishwoman who indulges in her passion for sex and control. She is a divorced socialite and the love of Jake’s life. Brett treats men as sexual objects and drifts from one man to the other in the story, always returning to her indifferent fiancé, Michael. She is a free-spirited and independent woman, but she can be very selfish at times. She and Jake met in England during World War I, when Brett treated Jake for a war wound. During Jake and Brett’s conversation, it is subtly implied that Jake’s injury rendered him impotent. Cohn wins the attention of Brett and feels superior but she dumps him. Compared with Cohn, Jake sits back and watches Brett’s relationships with men in a calm, controlled way but always painfully aware of his own physical inadequacies. The four different men are compared and contrasted as they engage in some form of relationship with Brett, she plans to marry her fiancée for superficial reasons, completely ruins one man emotionally and spiritually, separates from another to preserve the idea of their short-lived affair and to avoid self-destruction, and denies and disgraces the only man whom she loves most dearly. All her relationships occur in a period of months, as Brett either accepts or rejects certain values or traits of each man. Brett, as a dynamic and self-controlled woman, and her four love interests help demonstrate Hemingway's standard definition of a man and/or masculinity. Although Brett loves Jake, she hints that she is unwilling to give up sex and that for this reason she will not commit to a relationship with him. But every time she breaks up with someone or is feeling depressed she turns to Jake. Jake is always there to comfort her. Jake makes a decision to introduce the woman he loves to a young bullfighter. He loves Brett, but cannot be with her since she has an active love life. It is painful and destructive for them to be together, for Jake’s love and respect for Brett have been tarnished, what sustained him is gone. When they meet in England again, they discover that they are still in love. However, their love ends in misery.II. Jake Barnes, as a Code Hero in The Sun Also Rises2.1 Hemingway’s Code HeroIn Hemingway’s works, there exist certain common features among the protagonists, or the “heroes”, portrayed by Hemingway, due to the fact that these characters share identical personalities and life experiences and that they bear similar attitudes towards society. Their way of life can be defined by the way in which they respond to conflicts as well as the way in which they are depicted. Critics, in their description of Hemingway’s characters use the term “code hero”, quite inaccurately over generalizing their common features. As a matter of fact, such a concept seems to have created the illusion that Hemingway’s heroes all behave in accordance with certain principles, or that some code rules their behavior, and that certain principles dominate their inner conflicts and control their life orientation. Yet the opposite is the case: most of the characters in Hemingway are quite disillusioned with the traditional values and behavioral conventions of the war. They are inclined to turn away from the old, sacred and abstract morality for an extreme opposite tendency. They never speak of beliefs; they act rather than argue.The most obvious trademarks of the “code hero” are: “the world crushes every person into pieces, yet a lot of people rise from the pieces to demonstrate their staying power. The world is likely to kill and break those most brave, benign and excellent, yet it is the hero that rises from failure.” (杨大亮, 2001:63) And we can see a lot of features of them: First of all, the “code hero”, has great physical potential and courage. The “code heroes” are endowed with certain specialized skills, such as fishing, bull fighting, and hunting, etc. But whether he is a soldier, a bullfighter, a hunter, or a fisherman, his physical power is always activated by critical situations and thus creates the most life-like beauty. Hemingway more than compensated that physical handicap by endowing his hero with mental strength that is both determined and focused: “The strong physical beauty can only be pleasing to senses, but the strong willpower can move one in the depth of his heart.” The willpower forms the essential strength of the protagonists and enhances the intensity of the conflicts between characters. Secondly, the “code heroes” have strong willpower. Above and beyond their physical strength, their determination proves even more significant. With such willpower the heroes of Hemingway are able to remain graceful even after being destroyed, and can still demonstrate their dignity as human beings. Thirdly, another important feature is their loyalty. They are not without strong passions and faith, and such quality makes their character life-like and reliable, conveying warmth and love to people around. Fourthly, the “code heroes” maintain great dignity in all situations. Finally, the “code heroes” are always put in some touch-and-go situations, what the heroes must always face up to is their own personal fear of death and the threat of destruction, and it is this obstacle, death, that they have to overcome. (杨大亮, 2001:64-65)And from these features, the Code Hero measures himself by how well they handle the difficult situations that life throws at him. In the end the Code Hero will lose because we are all mortal, but the true measure is how a person faces death. The Code believes in “Nada”, a Spanish word meaning nothing. Along with this, there is no after life. The Code Hero is typically an individualist and free-willed. Although he believes in the ideals of courage and honor he has his own set of morals and principles based on his beliefs in honor, courage and endurance. A code hero never shows emotions; showing emotions and having a commitment to women shows weakness. Qualities such as bravery, adventuresome and travel also define the Code Hero. A final trait of the Code Hero is his dislike of the dark. It symbolizes death and is a source of fear for him. The rite of manhood for the Code Hero is facing death. However, once he faces death bravely and becomes a man he must continue the struggle and constantly prove himself to retain his manhood.#p#分页标题#e#2.2 Jake Barnes, a Code Hero in The Sun Also RisesJake Barnes, one of the “Lost Generation” in The Sun Also Rises. He told his story of life and shows his strong willpower for getting escape from the social background. After he gave up his chance to love, he found the ring of bullfighting serves as a psychic refuge for him. He is the hero that rises from failure.2.2.1 Jake Barnes' Living CodeIn The Sun Also Rises, the protagonist Jake Barnes serves as a controversial example of a Code Hero. Jake is a casualty of war. He tries to heal himself, at least emotionally, with friendship, food, and fishing and he dulls his pain with alcohol, quantities of drink that are almost incomprehensible. Jake never sees the big picture, just an unending stream of details. He lives in the present, refusing to analyze things. This is not, however, because Jake is a superficial person. In fact, he is capable of the most penetrating insights, as when he says of Brett, “I suppose she only wanted what she couldn’t have.” (Hemingway, 1998:95) Rather, it is due to the fact that if Jake were to examine the reality of his situation for even a moment, that reality would probably result in his suicide.A tragic and depressing atmosphere dominates the whole story. Jake represents an entire generation ruined by World WarⅠ. He loses more than he deserves in the war, and even worse, he is disillusioned with traditional American values of hard work. Jake is injured during the summer of 1925, in Italy, which leads to his sexual dysfunction. Later, he meets Brett who is a nurse’s aid when he is injured and sent to a hospital in Milan. They fall in love. But both of them are aware of the impossibility of their having a life together. Jake suffers more than any other person in this book physically as well as mentally, but finally he manages to seek solace from fishing, swimming, tennis, and, especially, bullfighting. When Jake learns that he is impotent, they decide to go their separate ways. Jake’s wound is not life threatening, but it is too cruel for anyone to bear. It deprives Jake of the right of being a normal man. Except grieving for his misfortune and his lost love alone, he can do nothing about his wound, which actually symbolizes the unchangeable and terrible fate. He loses much more during the celebration in Spain, he feels there is nothing he can do about the cruel reality, but he finds the ring of bullfighting is a new world on which he can concentrate his thoughts and feelings. The bullfighters, together with the rising sun bringing warmth and brightness to the world, symbolize his hope for life.2.2.2 Strong WillpowerJake is forced to keep the relationship strictly platonic and stand watch as different men float in and out of Lady Ashley's life and bed. No one other than Jake and Brett ever learn the complexity of their relationship because Jake's hopeless love for Brett and the agony it entails are restricted to scenes known to them alone. Jake fails morally during the fiesta of San Fermin, and he knows it. Still, like all of Hemingway’s heroes, he stoically tries to get on with life anyway. Note that despite his horrifying physical condition, Jake never pities himself, except on occasion when he’s very drunk and significantly alone. And although Jake cannot have sexual intercourse, he undeniably can love others: his friend Bill Gorton, his mentor Montoya, and of course Brett herself. Jake’s devotion to Brett knows no bounds, as proven by the novel’s final chapter, in which he travels cross country to be with her, in Brett’s time of need. Though Jake thinks of himself, as someone for whose love is impossible, precisely the opposite proves true.Jake believes there are a lot of beautiful things and hopes, such as the rising sun and the ring of bullfighting, in life. One may fail in one field as Jake loses his love and the right of being a normal man, but one can be successful in other fields as Jake gets rid of his decadent attitude towards life and finds something sustaining him to continue his life. In spite of Jake’s disappointment at reality, he did not completely lose his hope for life. His personality prevented him from taking a decadent attitude towards life. Actually, when he led a humble life in Paris in the expectation of achieving his objective of being a successfully professional writer, he never had an idea of giving up even during the hardest times when he hardly had anything to eat.Therefore, Jake suffers in silence because he has learned to trust and rely only upon himself, which is conductive to the Hemingway’s Code Hero as well. He cannot find his proper position in this society; his struggle to find his identity provides insight into the trauma inflicted by Word War I. The catharsis at the bullfight and the breakdown of sociological norms strengthen Jake's new identity, he wants to adhere to a strong set of personal values and to live his life to the fullest which are different from other people at that time. He saw the active of bullfighter when they face to the bull, he learned from them that when face to difficult you should come down and save the power for the last fight. He knew that he couldn’t waste his life even he always painfully aware of his own physical inadequacies to be a real man. He said, he didn’t care whatever the world is, but he wants to know how to live in this world, and it maybe when you learned how to live in this world then you will know what the world is. After war, they didn’t make a faction in their work and aimless, but he wants to escape, he fined the way for living with his lost mind. Jake’s change in mind reflects that he does not lose all his hope for life, and the change of Jake embodies his strong will and the optimistic attitude towards life.2.2.3 Grace under PressureWhen Brett said, “Oh, Jake, we could have had such a damned good time together.” … “Yes,” I said. “Isn't it pretty to think so?” (Hemingway, 1998:122). Jake seems to be an observer who watches the lives of his friends unfolds and happens around him, but without his participation. Jake makes the decision very much against the will of his friends, but in doing so he pleases Brett. Jake does this because he is unconditionally committed to Brett, and willing to do whatever necessary to bring her happiness, even if only temporary happiness.And at chapter three of the first part of this novel, we can find these words:“As they went in, under the light I saw white hands, wavy hair, white faces, grimacing, gesturing, talking. With them was Brett. She looked very lovely and she was very much with them.”…”I was very angry. Somehow they always made me angry. I know they are supposed to be amusing, and you should be tolerant, but I wanted to swing on one, any one, anything to shatter that superior, simpering composure. Instead, I walked down the street and had a beer at the bar at the next Bal.” (Hemingway, 1998:17)And from this, we can learn that Jake Barnes was so angry about those men who tried to fill up their empty lives with inconsequential activities like drinking, dancing, and debauchery. Jake didn’t want to be one of them. After the war, people are suffering from the wound and the terrible recollection of the war, and led a humble life. They felt that they had been cheated and everything was a lie and life, dominated by fate, was painful and aimless. People could not change their unfortunate fates no matter how hard they tried. The only thing they could do was suffering the endless misery silently. But we can find this conversation:“… ‘I know,’ said the count. ‘That is the secret. You must get to know the values.’‘Doesn’t anything ever happen to your values?’ Brett asked.‘No, not any more.’‘Never fall in love?’‘Always,’ said the count. ‘I am always in love.’‘What does that do to your values?’‘That, too, has got a place in my values.’‘You haven’t any values. You’re dead, that’s all.’‘No, my dear, you’re not right. I’m not dead at all.’ ” (Hemingway, 1998:55)From this conversation we know, among the Lost Generation, there also have some thing that people didn’t lose. And Jake is one from this people, because he struggles in the tragic faults. If war is the main objective reason that causes the tragic life of Jake, his negative attitude towards his injury is the most important subjective reason. The effects of the war led to a decline of the traditional value system – to a degeneration of morality, belief in justice, and love. It was a time of despair and disillusionment. Jake uses the mediocrity to overcome his lost feeling. He tipples and watches a bullfight so that he can find out an escape from reality and his pain.
He cares nothing but Brett, but Brett was one of the “Lost Generation”. She lost his love because of the war, and now she only stays with those persons who also wasted their time. Jake couldn’t ask her to stay away from them, because he also didn’t know what to do or what to look for. Face to his wound, what he could do for his love to Brett was only to accept her to live her life for her way happy. But Jake didn’t completely lost for those; he was looking for the right answer. Jake Barnes freely chooses to live in this world of chaos rather than one that is artificial and ritualized. Indeed, he removes Pedro, a bullfighter he deeply cares for, from the safe world of rituals to the real chaotic world, even with the real possibility of danger and even death, by giving him permission to pursue Brett. For Jake, that is the best thing he could have done for Pedro, and he does so even though it meant sacrificing his own feelings for Brett. Ultimately, Jake is aware of the dangers of the chaotic and random world, but the consequences of this awareness is that it is impossible to exist in the chaos without any protective mechanism. For Jake, it is the possibility of discovering a deeper hidden truth in the world that sustains him, and gives him reason to carry on. Jake didn’t ask Brett stay with him, instead of it, he give her freedom to find her true love, and when she field in trouble, he will appear in time.#p#分页标题#e#Another way, when Jake and Bill have a talk about Jake, we saw these:“… ‘You don’t work. One group claims women support you. Another group claims you’re impotent.’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I just had an accident.’…He had been going splendidly, but he stopped. I was afraid he thought he had hurt me with that crack about being impotent. I wanted to start him again.” (Hemingway, 1998:103)From those words, we can see that, Jake was not angry by those words that should hurt him, he wants to know the truth of other peoples’ thought, so he couraged Bill to continue his word. It is hard for people to accept those words, especially a man who lost the chance to be a real man after the war. But he only said that is an accident, and wants Bill to say more, it shows Jake has a grace when face to the embarrassing situation.What those actions show is that Jake Barnes keeps his dignity when facing failure and shows his undefeated grace in the adversity, and what we can learn from him is that we should not only appreciate the Code Hero but also try to be a man like Code Hero. Everyone may confront failure, what we learn from the Code Hero can help us conduct ourselves well as “bad luck” is coming, fight against situation to show the “grace under pressure”.2.2.4 Sense of NadaThe characters in Hemingway’s works lack such codes are individualist and influenced by the sense of Nada. Roberts points out the deep-seated disillusionment of these individuals: disillusionment caused by the First World War. They are among those that realize the failure of Christian morality to save mankind from the disaster of war.“…and as all the time I was kneeling with my forehead on the wood in front of me, and was thinking of myself as praying, I was a little ashamed, and regretted that I was such a rotten Catholic, but realized there was nothing I could do about it, at least for a while, and maybe never, but that anyway it was a grand religion, and I only wished I felt religious and maybe I would the next time; and then I was out in the hot sun on the steps of the cathedral,…”(Hemingway, 1998:86)Such disillusionment also forces Hemingway’s heroes to readjust their attitudes towards their surroundings and take a more proactive response, yet at the same time they are basically pessimistic and inert.The character has experienced a change from Nada to social humanism. In The Sun Also Rises, Jake had no way to handle subjective complications, and his wound was a token for this kind of impotence. It served the same purpose for the expatriate crowd in Paris. In some figurative manner these artists and writers had all been rendered impotent by the war. Barnes has to face to this terrible situation at that time.The Novel is not only the story of a set of expatriates in Paris who make a hectic trip over the Pyrenees to Pamplona for the bull-fights. Nor is the life of the “lost generation” depicted merely as a record of the post-war situation. Rather, it is the description, too, of many a generation to come, coming to abide in this absurd world and live similarly absurd lives.At the end of The Sun Also Rises, we find Jake and Brett in Madrid. As usual, they drink and eat and talk in the bar and in the hotel. Finally they take a taxi ride to see the city. In the taxi, Jake puts his arm around Brett and she rests against him comfortably. Then Brett says, “Oh, Jake, we could have had such a damned good time together.” And Jake answers, “Yes, Isn’t it pretty to think so?”(Hemingway, 1998:223)Here Jake’s answer is ironic. It implies that their life can be “pretty” only in supposition. We as readers know, of course, that their life is as purposeless as the war-wrecked world in which they live; their ride now is as aimless as the drifting generation to which they belong. And we can suppose with justification that later on Brett may do and say pretty much the same thing to the next man coming her way. In fact, not only Jake and Brett but also all the characters in novel may repeat pretty much the same meaningless café-bar-and-street life and claim it “a damned good time together” again and again.Finally, he gets solace from the ring of bullfighting and those masculine bullfighters belonging to the man’s world. The ring of bullfighting serves as a psychic refuge for him. The sun, rising every day in the east, brings warmth and bright to the world and implies that life will continue its process no matter how hard it is and that people should not lose heart but should remain a ray of hope in despair and continue their lives bravely. The mortals’ vexations are so negligible in comparison with the eternal sun. Jake has changed from a depressive to a person who has found the hope for life. He thought nothing about his love, wound and the lost mind, what he wants is to find a new way to life. A new way to escape from the things he has nothing to deal with. And this sense of Nada shows that Jake has the same sense of Hemingway’s Code Hero.III. Jake Barnes, a Hemingway Code HeroAs an important American writer, Hemingway has rich experiences during his whole life. And his experiences served fruitful material for his literary career. Hemingway turned his life experiences into stark, sensitive fiction that captivated a worldwide audience. Prevalent among many of Ernest Hemingway's novels is the concept popularly known as the “Hemingway hero”, or “code hero”, an ideal character readily accepted by American readers as a “man’s man”.Jake Barnes fits into the category of a Hemingway Code Hero because he embodies the most significant characteristics of a quintessential Code Hero: he demonstrates his manhood through the ability to endure pain with dignity; he imposes order upon his chaotic world through personal values. He serves as a controversial example as “Hemingway Code Hero” in The Sun Also Rises. In this story, Jake positions himself as an observer, generally using his insight and intelligence to describe only those around him, rarely speaking directly about himself. However, in describing the events and people he sees, Jake implicitly reveals much about his own thoughts and feelings. He learned from the bullfighter, and changed his attitude towards his tragic fates.Jake Barnes, under heavy pressure, what he shows was his the “grace under pressure” and the sense of Nada, So we can safely come to a conclusion that Jake Barnes is just a model who shows his image of a Hemingway's Code Hero.
Bibliography Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises白蕨注释，中山大学出版社，1998.8 Wu Zhihao, Hemingway's Contradictory Attitudes towards Fate Mirrored in His Works, Xiaogan University, April, 2007 History and Anthology of American Literature Volume 2, 外语教学与研究出版社，2006.8，229-231