Explain the quotation, “You, a foreigner…have given more than your life.” Does Jake agree in The Sun Also Rises?

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jake is an expatriat, an American living and working in Europe. He was in the war and was injured.  As a result, Jake is impotent. Being a foreigner refers to the fact that World War I was primarily a European war, in which America only entered for a short period of time. Many believed the U.S. should not have entered the war for this very fact - that it WAS a European war. Jake was not killed in the war, but he gave more than his life because he is unable to have sex, so he gave up his manhood, which to many, is a fate worse than death.

Jake pooh-poohs his injury throughout the novel and tries to make light of it, but it is a bigger deal than he lets on. It prevents him from having a life with Brett because, as she tells him, she would be cheating on him all the time, she really cannot live with him under the present circumstances because she is a very lusty woman. Jake's injury emasculates him and while he often tells people that it is actually funny, deep down, it is not a laughing matter to him.

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The Sun Also Rises

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