In The Sun Also Rises, how is Jake Barnes' wound symbolic of the American Dream?

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Jake's wound is symbolic of the impotence or lack of power of the American Dream over the young generation coming into its own in the 1920s. The American Dream is a dream of unlimited progress and potential, represented by the possibilities inherent in a new continent. It is, as Hemingway's contemporary, F. Scott Fitzgerald described it in The Great Gatsby, the dream that we can remake history, start over from a pure, pristine vantage point, and create an Edenic future. It is the conviction that we can make the world a better place.

Jake has just seen the future as shown him through World War I. It has been not the Garden of Eden but a jaunt through hell. If the American Dream is about dreams becoming reality and the future unfolding in an ever improving vista, Jake's wound symbolizes the deep, disillusioning blow the First World War has rendered to much of his generation. Jake's hopes and dreams, like those of his peers, have been shattered. He can't find a way forward. He doesn't see...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 755 words.)

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