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Synopsis

Seminar paper from the year 2006 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1.3, University of Freiburg (Anglistik/Amerikanistik), course: HS Literatur: 'History of Love in the American Novel', 7 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: It is all too easy to dismiss Brett Ashley, the leading female character in Hemingway`s first novelThe Sun Also Rises,as a neurotic, promiscuous and 'hard-boiled' man-eater and to blame her for the failure of all man-woman relationships in the novel. (And indeed, Brett has been called many things, from 'a woman devoid of womanhood' over 'an exclusive destructive force' even to 'a compulsive bitch'). If so, it probably tells more about the critic than the person who is being criticized. A short-sighted, and rather reactionary statement as the one above does not do justice to the complex relationships between the New Woman Brett Ashley and Robert Cohn, Pedro Romero and Jake Barnes. This paper therefore aims to explain in a more elaborate manner why Brett Ashley´s relationships fail. It tries to show that not only can the reasons be found in Brett´s capacity as an independent, self-confident and often troubled New Woman but also in the shortcomings of the male characters or in conditions which are beyond the characters´ control. What exactly constitutes aNew Womanat the beginning of the 20th century is the concern of the first section of this paper. It also shows in what regard Brett Ashley exemplifies this concept and serves as a general introduction to the character. The second section then focuses on the respective interpersonal relationships between Brett and the writer Robert Cohn, Brett and the bullfighter Pedro Romero and Brett and the (narrating) protagonist Jake Barnes. 'How did they get to know each other?', 'What was their relationship like?' and 'Why did it fail in the end?' are the leading questions in the framework of the argumentation.

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