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The Sun Also Rises

by Ernest Hemingway

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Jake Barnes says he wants to "learn how to live in it." Did he succeed or fail?

Expert Answers

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I would say no he did not (or at least not really) succeed.

As Hemingway's novel concludes, Brett begs Jake not to get drunk again. He brushes her off:

"I'm not getting drunk," I said. "I'm just drinking a little wine."

"Don't get drunk," she said. "Jake, don't get drunk."

The two get into a taxi and Jake puts his arm around Brett. Though they act like they are comfortable, there is an undercurrent of dis-ease: "Oh, Jake," Brett said, "we could have had such a good time together."


"Yes, I said. "Isn't it pretty to think so?"

It is not a hopeful conclusion. Jake may have come to some benumbed (by alcohol and other things) state of tolerance, but biding one's time is not really living.

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