What do the homosexual men, who enter with Brett in Chapter 3, symbolize?  What is the purpose of Brett of being with them? What does Hemingway suggest by this: "She [Georgette] had been taken up by them [homosexuals]. I knew then that they would all dance with her. They are like that."?

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The homosexual men symbolize to Jake a chosen rejection of heterosexuality. This contrasts with his involuntary loss of his manhood through the war accident that has left him impotent. They irritate him because he fears that they parody what he has become. (This is not an enlightened view of sexuality,...

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The homosexual men symbolize to Jake a chosen rejection of heterosexuality. This contrasts with his involuntary loss of his manhood through the war accident that has left him impotent. They irritate him because he fears that they parody what he has become. (This is not an enlightened view of sexuality, but it describes Jake's feelings.) He thinks to himself that he would like to "swing" on one because he is by angered their "simpering composure." He feels they act superior and resents that they could, if they wanted, engage in heterosexual sex while he cannot.

By being with this group of gay men, Brett is signaling her temporary sexual fidelity to Jake, though, of course, she does not keep this up. She also fits in with them in her own androgynous way. Jake writes of her:

She looked very lovely and she was very much with them.

He desires Brett in a way they do not, and is filled with frustration. That the gay men will dance with Georgette, a "harlot" they don't desire, shows their frivolous attitude toward life and sexuality. They are a contrast to the tortured and alienated Jake.

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The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway in one sense is a portrayal of the code of hyper-masculinity that dominated Hemingway's writing and public persona, with its stereotypical accoutrements of bullfighting and fishing. Yet, however, gender in the novel actually functions in a somewhat more complex manner. Jake, the protagonist, is impotent due to an injury he received in the war and Brett is barren. 

In Chapter 3, we are introduced to Georgette the prostitute and Lett, a gay man who enters the club with Brett. For Hemingway, all of these characters and the milieu of expatriate Paris represent something like Eliot's Wasteland, where culture has become rootless, detached from the land, and impotent.

If we read the novel against the normative sexual values of the period, of heterosexuality, marriage and childbearing, all these characters, as well as the divorced Cohn, are examples of broken sexuality, Jake for his impotence, Brett for his barrenness, Lett for his homosexuality, and the prostitute for reducing sexuality to a commercial transaction.

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