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The Sun Also Rises: The Fishing Trip

A careful study of Hemingway’s novels and short stories reveals that he consistently repeats his major subject and themes. The 2nd book of “The Sun Also Rises” starts with the fishing trip – the subject which he has discussed in his several other novels and short stories. However, it is a great mastery of Hemingway’s art that even his repetitions do not create monotony.

After the exposition of chaotic conditions of life in Paris where every one is physically and emotionally sick, the fishing trip scene is a healthy shift to the serenity and tranquility of Burguette where only Jake Barnes and Bill Gorton go because Mike and Brett Ashley fail to reach Pamplona on the expected day.

Their journey to Burguette is slightly troublesome as the motor bus is full of passenger. However, they enjoy beautiful scenery and exposed their bodies to the sun and the wind. As the bus moves upward, Jake is enchanted by the beauty of rocky hills, grain growing up hillside and in the way a cloud hangs behind the bus. His poetic appreciation of the scene and communication with nature are in a sense aromantic escape from the injuries of war and complexities of life in Paris.

If we critically examine the position of this scene, it is quite clear that Hemingway has consciously inserted this trip midway between the scenes in Paris and those in Pamplona to lend it a structural and symbolic significance. Fishing scene is a kind of fulcrum that helps in measuring the frustration and unhappiness of the former or later episodes.

Fishing trip is neutral as it is set high in the Spanish mountains with the plains of Paris on one side and those of Pamplona on the other side. There are Jake and Bill, “Men without women”, without Brett to create jealousy among them and Jake is free from complexities of sex. It is one of those few occasions when Jake is found happy. This excursion is therapeutic process for Jake. He briefly speaks of his hindered love for Brett, but as religion is no more valid and love is no longer possible, he finds happiness through private and imaginative means. Thus, he constructs a more positive code to follow, which brings in him help, pleasure, beauty an order, and helps to wipe out the damage of his troubled life in Paris. Pamplona is an extension of Burguette which on the surface level is gayer and more joyous than Burguette but essentially more serious and eventful.

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