Comment on Bill’s feelings about expatriates in chapter 12 of The Sun Also Rises: “touch with the soil…drink yourself to death…spend all your time talking, not working.”  How does this...

Comment on Bill’s feelings about expatriates in chapter 12 of The Sun Also Rises:

 “touch with the soil…drink yourself to death…spend all your time talking, not working.”  How does this describe Jake or his friends? How does this describe Jake’s attitude? Why is this good or bad?

Expert Answers
lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think this quote pretty much sums up Jake and his friends, don't you? Look what they spend their time doing. They travel around Europe -- Paris, Spain -- they eat, they drink, they hang out in cafes. Jake even has a job, but it is a wonder he ever gets any work done. A lot of the expatriates in Europe after WWI were writers like the characters in this novel. Hemingway himself was one for awhile. They do a lot of talking and philosophizing but little work. They have lot touch with the soil of their native land because they are removed from it.

Jake seems to be pretty unconcerned about this comment. I think he knows it is true but feels powerless to do anything about it. There is never any evidence that he misses the U.S. -- not like Robert Cohn, at least. That is why Brett is always saying that Robert "is not one of us" -- he really is not. He tries to be, but he alone still clings to the morals of an old world. That is why he winds up going back to the U.S. at the end of the novel.

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The Sun Also Rises

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