Ernest Hemingway?s The Sun Also Rises Essay, Research Paper
A hero is defined by Websters dictionary as a ?courageous, valorousman.? There are many people in history that society deems or defines as?heroes?. An example of a hero from our past is Martin Luther King Jr.. He went against all odds in his fight for freedom. There are fictional heroes thatcan be considered heroes as well. Superman and his antics in saving theplanet are in many ways considered heroism. Many sports stars and actorsare considered by many as heroic figures. Mario Lemiux won his battle withHotchkins Disease, a form of cancer, to win a completely different battle, theStanley Cup. A hero is a person or character that defies all odds in order toachieve both the respect and idolization of his fellow human beings.?Among other characters, a literary hero is a character who lives or strugglesto live by a certain code which he sets for himself or which society orenvironment has established for him.? In our readings this year, there aremany characters that exhibit these special qualities. One of which is Jake, in Ernest Hemingway?s award winning novel, The Sun Also Rises. This story takes place immediately after World War 1, atime of great hardship. These hardships results in a digression both morallyand socially. Jake handles this digression like a man and continues to live hislife as a journalist. Jake installs his values on his friends on a trip they taketo France. There are two friends that Jake attempts to help that are veryspecial to him. Those friends are Robert Cohn, and Brett Ashley. This is anexemplary example of heroism.
It is clear that Lady Brett Ashley is anything but a lady. She is kindand sweet, but extremely vulnerable that various men in her life seem tosmother her with. Brett is unhappy with her life and her surroundings andseeks escape and refuge in the arms of these men. But her actions seem toalways end up hurting her, and you could guess who she runs back to, Jake.Jake knows that he can never have her as his own, and he accepts this as fact.This is clear when the Count asks, ?why don?t you get married, you two.?(pg. 68) Although Brett toys with Jake?s emotions, Jake is still accepting ofher problems and is tolerant of her behavior because he loves herunconditionally and is willing to overlook everything she does. Jake?swillingness to endure and forgive Brett?s promiscuity and infidelity is anindication of how heroic Jake really is.
Jake?s war injury forced him to accept living in a seemingly terribleway for more than one reason. The physical ramifications of his injury carryover to his social life. When Georgette makes reference to his injury, hesimply replies, ?I was hurt in the war.?(pg. 24) Hardly an acceptable answerfor such a sophisticated injury. The acceptance of this injury is the basicdefinition of a hero. This is definitely a respectable attribute.
Jake?s feelings toward his friend Robert Cohn are a combination ofjealousy, compassion, and understanding. Jake knew of Robert?srelationship with Brett, and it ate him up with envy, but at the same time heknew how it had ended. He had been close friends with Robert, and beenthrough similar situation with Brett, so he had both compassion andunderstanding for Robert?s position. At the same time, Jake is angered withthe way that Robert deals with this. Robert goes around beating up every guythat attempts to get close with Brett. At one point, he even hits Jake. Jaketakes this like a man and accepts Roberts good with his bad and tries to helphim. Again, Jake?s heroic attributes help a friend in need. The attitude that Jake possesses is an extremely difficult stance to take.Not many people could be as understanding and caring as he is. I know thisis a fictional character, but the heroics that Hemingway portrays through Jakecan be taken with a grain of salt and help normal people such as you and Iunderstand what it takes….. to be a hero.
In a different situation Hamlet, in William Shakespeare?s worldrenown play Hamlet, helps people learn the truth in a heroic manner. Hamletexhibits a puzzling, duplicitous nature. He contradicts himself throughoutthe play. This ambiguity is demonstrated by his illeged madness. Hebehaves madly one minute, only to become perfectly calm and rational aninstant later. These inconsistencies are related with the internal dilemmas hehas to face. He struggles with the issue of revenging his father?s deathvowing to kill Claudius and then backing out, several times. The heroicsshown by Hamlet throughout the play are misconstrued by everyone until thevery end when he proves his vengeance is viable. There are many times thatHamlet has to deal with adversity throughout the play. Death seems to be acontinuous theme. Hamlet has to deal with many losses. The way hehandles this adversity seems irrational, but is in fact heroic. In the first act, Hamlet commits that he will be committed to nothingelse but the revenge of his father?s death. ?I?ll wipe away all trivial fondrecords, All saws books, all forms, all pressures past, That youth andobservation copied there, And thy commandment all alone shall live Withinthe book and volume of my brain?(act 1, scene 5, 99-103). At the end of acttwo, Hamlet again mentions vengeance. The way that Hamlet plays out hisvengeance is very interesting. Instead of playing the part of the vengeful son,or dropping the issue all together, he hangs in the middle pretending to bemad. This is shown when he says to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern ?I knownot-lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercise?(act 2, scene 2,380-381) Admitting so blatantly that he is only feigning madness wouldimply that he is comfortable with acting with it. Hamlet does not reveal toanyone his plan of vengeance. Shakespeare leads you to believe that Hamletis going to act on his vengeance in killing Claudius in the line by Hamlet ?Ishould have fatted all the region kites With this slave is off. Bloody, bawdyvillain! O? vengeance! Why, what in ass am I?(act 2, scene 2, 581-585)Hamlet then backs out of killing Claudius in act three. At this point, thecharacters believe him to be insane and see no vengeance in his acts. At the end of the play, Hamlet is challenge by Leartes in vengeance ofLearte?s father?s death. This is when the truth comes out. Before the deathof Heratio, Leartes, and Ophilia, Hamlet is looked upon as a hero by all ofthem as he kills the killer of his father, the king. Hamlet spends the entireplay seeking the perfect vengeance on Claudius. The obstacles that heovercomes to eventually achieve his goal make him a hero. He demonstratesthe necessary qualities to go down in the anols of literary history as one of themost heroic characters of all time. There are many people and characters that are heroes in the public eye.Monuments such as statues are made for iconoclastic people all the time. Butheroes are actually seen by each person individually. A person that mayseem like a hero to me, may not be held in such a high honor in your, oranybody else?s eyes. The code of the hero is extremely flexible and societydoes not necessarily take this code into account when deeming someone orsomething a ?hero?. Jake and Hamlet clearly exhibit the correct qualities tobe considered ?heroes?. They clearly defied all odds to help others gainrespect for both themselves and the people that needed them at that particularmoment. These characters help us in our quest to become the best that wecan be. I know that I compare myself to the people I consider heroes and Ihave come to believe that that makes me better. Now, I have two morecharacters to help me become a ?hero?.