Suggested Essay Topics

Book I
Chapter 1

1. Describe Robert’s experiences with women. Why was he devastated by his divorce? How has Frances affected his life? How has their relationship changed? Why? How does this prepare the way for Robert’s relationship with Brett?

2. Explain why Hemingway begins the novel with this chapter. Why is Cohn important enough to describe in detail? What clues does Jake give the reader to his negative feelings toward Robert?

Chapter 2
1. Compare Jake’s and Robert’s views of life. Why does Robert think South America will cure his dissatisfaction? How have Robert’s interests and goals been developed? Jake’s?

2. Discuss this quotation: “Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bullfighters.” How does this foreshadow Jake’s afición values? Why does Jake feel life must be lived to the fullest? How does the “lost generation” fit into this attitude?

Chapter 3
1. Show Paris as a wasteland. How are perversions of love demonstrated? How does Georgette fit into this? What is the significance of Jake’s anger in the dancing club?

2. Explain Georgette’s comment, “Everybody’s sick.” How is this a statement on society? How does Jake’s injury represent society? Are there other “sick” characters in the novel?

Chapter 4
1. Explain Brett’s quote, “Don’t we pay for all the things we do . . . ? Why does Brett feel she is being punished? How? To what extent are the wounds the result of external forces?

2. How does Jake deal with his impotence? How do other people see it? Explain the quotation, “You, a foreigner . . . have given more than your life.” Does Jake agree? How is his impotence relevant to society’s?

Chapters 5-6
1. Describe the relationship between Frances and Robert. How does Frances feel his leaving her demonstrates the aspect of his character of seeking adventures through books? Why doesn’t Robert defend himself? How was their relationship developed through his insecurities?

2. Contrast the normal people presented in the reading with Jake’s Paris friends. How are Krum and Woolsey different from Jake’s other friends? Why does Jake walk to work? How do the characters presented as normal working people contrast to Harvey Stone? Frances?

Chapter 7
1. Describe Count Mippipopolous. What things does he value? What do all those things have in common? How does he represent the “lost generation”?

2. Explain Brett’s statement, “You haven’t any values. You’re dead, that’s all.” How does this describe Paris as a wasteland in Book I? How does this relate to the count? Jake? Herself?

Book II
Chapter 8

1. Relate the incident with racial prejudice in Vienna. Why does Bill remember this so vividly? Why does Brett compare Vienna to Paris? How does she feel about this? Bill?


(The entire section is 1250 words.)