How are women represented in The Sun also Rises?

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podunc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hemingway is often considered by feminists to be a misogynistic writer. While I think this label might be a bit severe at times, in this novel Hemingway portrays his few female characters as predators in one way or another. First of all, there is Georgette the prostitute, who Jake eats with out of boredom. She is determined to get the best meal possible in Paris for her time. There is Frances Clyne, Robert Cohn's woman, who first wants to control Robert and then insults him terribly when Robert breaks up with her. The only complex female character in the novel is Brett, or Lady Ashley, whose behavior is more male than female. She prefers the company of men, prefers to be called "Brett" rather than "Lady Ashley," and wears her hair "brushed back like a boy's." Most of all, Brett's sexual behavior is might be considered more like that of a "playboy" rather than a lady, as she has a series of sexual relationships with men she does not love. Brett, who is sexually attractive yet "unfeminine" in so many ways, is the only woman who is treated sympathetically in the novel.