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The title of the book is taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes, which begins, "Vanity, Vanity, all is vanity. " Ecclesiastes is traditionally thought to have been written by wise King Soloman who, although he had great wealth and accomplishements, found his life meaningless at the end. The actual verse from which the title is taken is Ecclesiastes 1:15: " The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose." In other words, nothing really changes so therefore life can be meaningless. This is also one of the themes of the novel. The characters in the novel are part of Hemingway's "lost generation". They have lost their purpose in life. Robert Cohn missed his chance at "the big time", Jake and Brent lose a chance at love, and Romero, the bullfighter who is supposed to be a hero, finds his time is almost gone. But even if the characters don't find the meaning of the life they sought, "the sun will still rise" and things will go on without them.
The title of the book reminds me of Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage. All those young people dead, and the sun is shining bright. I find an indifference of nature to our petty and profound emotional dispositions. I feel that is what Hemmingway meant when he chose this wuotation to start the novel. All this horrible stuff happens, and the tide cometh and oh, by the way, the sun also rises. Not very hopeful to me. Maygbe that's why he blew his brains out with a shotgun...
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