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You Can’t Get Away from Yourself by Moving from One Place to Another


The Sun Also Rises is one of the Ernest Hemingway’s novels that was written in the hours of solitude, and that describes the life of the Lost Generation in. This novel is about life, thoughts and feelings of Jake Barnes – the Great War veteran, who tries to find himself in the postwar life. The novel also describes his love to Brett Ashley.

“You Can’t Get Away from Yourself by Moving from One Place to Another,” Jake Barnes says in chapter II, and he says it in response to the words of Robert Cohn, when the latter aims to persuade Jake to travel to South Africa (Hemingway 19). Cohn states that he is dissatisfied with his life in Paris, and he believes that the change of the surrounding scenery would help him to fill the void that he feels. Actually, Jake clearly realizes that such reasoning is absurd and Cohn’s unhappiness originates from his outdated values of life, his decadent lifestyle and the eternal dissatisfaction with life. Jake aims to explain Robert that the attitude towards life is independent on the place a men lives in (Hemingway 18). Jake reveals the unique and deep insight into reviewing and solving problems, as he perfectly knows the post war generation.


The analyzed quote (Hemingway 19) reveals Jake’s nature and the way of solving problems. He is a pragmatic veteran of the World War I, working as a journalist. He is the most stable among all his friends; however, he is also subjected to some ill-considered steps because of his feelings to Lady Brett Ashley, his impotence caused by the injury, and the moral vacuum induced by the war. This analyzed quote positions him like an observer. He does not aim to do anything in order to fill his moral vacuum, and pragmatically views the world because of his ignorance to the surrounding world, and disgust to everything. However, in describing the events that happen around him and people he meets or remembers, Jake reveals much of his real feelings, thoughts and considerations.


The significance of this quotation to the entire novel is expressed in the words “you can’t get away…” (Hemingway 19) The protagonist aims to get away from himself, his previous life and experience, which hurts him every time he aims to remember the previous years.

Jake is not very satisfied with the life in Paris, however, he likes this city (Hemingway 17). Most probably, he will not be able to find himself in any other corner of the world, as it does not matter, what place you live in as everything depends on the nature, and world perception. The Lost Generation, which Jake Barnes belongs to, is doomed to the eternal self-search, as the representatives of the Lost Generation experienced the worst disaster in the world, and they would not be able to accept and enjoy the peaceful life as they did it before the war.


In conclusion, it should be mentioned that it is always difficult to get away “from yourself”. Nevertheless, as we can see, Jake managed to do this. He succeeded in forgetting the disasters of the war, and could distract from his feelings to Brett, his impotence and the necessity to persuade Cohn in the uselessness of the trip to South Africa.

Work Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises. New York, NY: Vintage, 2000. Print.