Hemmingway\'s The Sun Also Rises


In the novel The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, a reader I
is forced to decide weather the spite that the Jake has for Chon
originates from Jake\'s racist background, or his deeply seeded
jealousy of Chon for having a brief affair with Brett. Even
though it is clear that Jake has racist views, the hatred he has
for his former friend Chon Chon is strictly based on the
jealousy he feels towards Chon for the weekend he spent with
Brett.
Jake goes in to great detail about Chon\'s early life. He speaks
highly and admiringly of Chon, but in a condescending way. A
reader get her first hint on page one that Jake has some racist
feelings toward Chon. He speaks of how Chon\'s nose was flattened
in a boxing match and concluded the sentence with "...and it
certainly improved his nose" (11). This can be taken as a
reference to the stereotypical “Jew” nose that is often
associated with Jewish people. Jake and Chon are close friends,
and Jake likes him up to the point where he becomes involved with
Brett. Jake goes on and on about all of the relationship
mistakes in Chon¹s life. There is an hint of jealousy that
appears in Jake\'s tone. He states that women began to become
attracted to Chon as he got older, and that it ³changed him so
that he was not so pleasant to have around² (16). There is
racism in Jake¹s tone, but Jake¹s problem with Chon is is
strictly one of jealousy.
By this time Jake has already developed an extreme distaste for
Chon’s endeavors with women, but these feelings their peak when
Chon and Lady Brett have a brief affair. Jake, having
unconditional love for Brett, blames the entire incident on Chon.
In turn, Chon makes as point to rub it in Jake¹s face. Jake says
³...it was giving him pleasure to be able to talk with the
understanding that I knew there was something between them²
(106). Jake has a great deal of trouble dealing with this. It has
nothing to do with the fact that Chon is Jewish, Jake is merely
jealous of him. It would not be manly for Jake to openly admit
his jealousy, and blame the jealousy on his harsh feelings toward
Chon. As a result Jake falls back on the fact that Chon is
Jewish, and uses that as an excuse for his anger.
One of the reasons that Jake was so hurt by Chon¹s affair with
Brett was that Jake knows that Brett will always love him, and
has no feelings for Chon other than a temporary lust. Chon is
unable to accept the fact that Brett does not care at all for
him, and he makes it very difficult to for people to enjoy his
company. Bill says he makes me sick and he can go to hell,and I
am damn glad he is staying here...²(108). These is not a racial
based opinion, Chon just has an unpleasant personality. Everyone
in the group agrees that Chon’s presence is not enjoyable, but
nobody feels it the way Jake does.
In this story Jake allows the woman that he to loves run his
life and occupy his thoughts. Jake is a bitter person, and he is
living in a time of unhappiness and depression that resulted from
the war. The hate he feels for his former friend Chon Chon is
not one of racism; before the incident with Brett they were close
friends. This is just another case of a woman coming in between
two male friends. The affair might not have even affected that
relationship, it is Chon\'s reaction to the affair that spoils the
friendship. Jake is jealous of Chon because he knows that Brett
loves only him.