The Sun Also Rises is the story of a “lost generation”, a group of British and American ex-pats who were ex-servicemen of World War I. Being himself belonging to this lost generation, Hemingway digs deep into their lives subtly exposing and bringing to light the true nature of that generation. He points out that despite the irretrievable physical and emotional damages they have faced, these men have braved their lives with sheer courage and have lived as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.
The story takes you through a colorful journey with the main protagonist Jake Barnes and his friends on Paris cafes, French food; on Bayonne and fishing; and finally, on Pamplona and bullfighting, all the time bringing out in slow measures the hidden characteristics of these characters.
The character of Lady Brett is the center of the story. She is Hemingway’s easel in which he paints his story with such mastery. Through her, Hemingway exhibits two important points: One is the concept of the “modern woman”, who no longer lives according to social norms defining her own rules based on freedom. Second is the sexual tension and sexual frustration of men when attraction and denial are played at close proximity. Through the characters of Jake Barnes and Robert Cohn, this point is subtly exposed.
There is also another interesting feature in the story; that is the nothingness these characters feel, living day to day, trying desperately to find a solid ground to anchor their wandering lives. This point is even true today. It is not only the “lost generation” but even the modern generation find them victims of this nothingness. And to that extent, the story is timeless.