Ms. Susan Lowman-Thomas
American Literature 221
July 7, 2013
The Sun Also Rises
A modern woman: who is she, and how does she look like? An answer to this question is provided by Ernest Hemingway in his famous novel “The Sun Also Rises." The main female protagonist, Brett Ashley, challenges the popular stereotype of women as loving, caring and obedient creatures, and she is much ahead of her time. Brett would perfectly fit into present-day society, for she has many traits pertaining to women from glossy magazines, movies and real life. In Brett, anybody can recognize their friend, colleague, relative, lover, or acquaintance. In fact, deviant behavior and loose morals that were highly disapproved at the beginning of the twentieth century are now considered as typical and intrinsic features of the contemporary ladies.
Hemingway creates a new role model that has not been used in literature before. Some of the writer’s predecessors celebrated the characters of independent women, but Hemingway was the first in American literature to challenge the existing gender roles and demonstrate that a woman with a penchant for strong drinks, emotional callousness and lack of consideration for societal expectations can still be admired and even loved.
Brett Ashley is a complex character that can be perceived differently by different people. To some she is an idol, goddess, Barbie, modern princess, while to others she is a woman of easy virtue. Nevertheless, Brett is an ambiguous character that has some positive and negative traits. The latter seem to outnumber the former. She is definitely a strong and independent woman, who does not develop close emotional attachment to men that surround her. She is aware of her attractive and seductive appearance which she uses to exert power over men. Brett wants to be in control of the relationships assuming man’s dominant role and breaking from the traditional concept of an ever...
Cited: Benson, Jackson J. “Roles and the Masculine Writer.” In Bloom, Harold, Ed. Brett
Ashley. Chelsea House Publishers: Philadelphia, 1991. 76-85. Print.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. 1926. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1996. Print.
Halberstam, Judith. "Female Masculinity." Literary Theory: An Anthology. Second Ed. Julie Rivkin & Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2004. 935-955. Print.
Miller, Linda. “Brett Ashley: The Beauty of It All”. Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Vol. 203 (1995): 170-184. Literature Resource CenterWeb. 1 October 2009.
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