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The Sun Also Rises

by Ernest Hemingway

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How do Jake's and Robert's views of life compare in Chapter 2 of The Sun Also Rises and why does Robert believe South America will cure his dissatisfaction?

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Robert has a very romantic view of life. He is very easily influenced, especially by the things he reads in books; "The Purple Land" in particular makes him long for adventure, and instills in him the desire to travel so as to experience life to the fullest before he dies. Jake, on the other hand has a much more practical outlook on the world. He understands that one place is pretty much like another, and that fulfillment comes from within.

Robert thinks that South American will cure his dissatisfaction because he has read about it in the book "The Purple Land." That book presents South America as "an intensely romantic land," and Robert wants to experience its reputed wonders before his death.

Robert is a reactor; his interests and goals are the results of stimuli that come from outside of himself. As Jake explains, Robert had had "a rotten college" and had married on the rebound, and had taken up with his current love interest, Frances, on the rebound from being dumped by his first wife. When he finds that women are attracted to him, he is "quite changed;" no longer "so simple, and...not so nice." He is influenced by what he reads to an uncommon extent, and decides he must go to South America, because a writer has presented that land as one that is amazingly romantic.

Jake's interests and goals, on the other hand, seem to have been developed through experience and a practical mind, and, perhaps, a good dose of disillusionment. He does not jump around from one objective to another as much as Roberts does; he has seen the world and has decided that "all countries look just like the moving pictures." Jake is devoted to his newspaper work, and likes the town he lives in, and enjoys visiting Spain in the summers. Jake knows that "you can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another," and so is more stable in his interests and goals. There is also an element of resignation in his outlook; it is as if he has seen and done everything, like Robert still yearns to do, and has found the experience lacking.

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