Lady Brett Ashley is a strong, independent young woman. Throughout The Sun Also Rises, Brett tends to be the center of Jake’s world. She also tends to be the source of any drama in their friend group. Brett is a very unhappy young woman. She continually attempts to drown her sorrow at the expense of her liver. Lady Ashley has a very complicated love life, that many at the time would have considered immoral. Her personal values allow her to have this love life and not feel immoral or guilty about it.
Brett is the main character involved in the theme that sex is a very powerful force and can be very destructive. She also embodies the theme of the aimlessness of the “lost generation” metaphorically in the restlessness of her love life. The “lost generation” refers to the generation of men and women who were in their twenties during World War One. Many of whom were in the war. World War I destroyed many moral beliefs and the trust people had in humanity. The social upheaval left many of these young adults.
In the beginning of the novel, Brett is unable to settle with one man, and she tends to be very selfish. Her relationship with Jake is a very selfish one. Lady Ashley continually causes drama ith her friends. She spends the weekend in San Sebastian with Robert Cohn. When she brings Mike to Pamplona, he constantly picks on Cohn. Mike is a generally sour person and a bad drunk, and since he spends most of his time somewhere between tipsy and wasted it quickly becomes an issue. Cohn’s fascination with Brett causes many issues with him, Brett, and the other men in the group.
By the end of the novel, Brett has grown capable of loving someone besides Jake. She convinces herself and others that she selflessly leaves Pedro Romero so that he can continue his bullfighting career. To those who first meet Lady Brett Ashley, she first appears to be a cheerful young woman. Lady Ashley is quite the opposite, she is very unhappy with her life. Her unhappiness leads to her excessive drinking as a coping mechanism. Her “true love” died of dysentery during the war. “During the war. Her own true love had just kicked off with dysentery. ” said Jake on page 46.
She has since found it hard to settle with one man, she has been married and subsequently is in the process of getting divorced. She is in love with Jake but is unable to remain with him due to the injury he sustained in the war. She has a brief fling with the Count and then vacations in San Sebastian with Robert Cohn. Throughout the novel, she is engaged to Mike. She brings him with her to Pamplona. While in Pamplona, she falls in love with the dashing young bullfighter Pedro Romero. This all forms a very confusing web of sexual relationships and friendships.
Brett is in love with Jake, who is friends with Cohn, who Brett sleeps with, who Brett’s fiance Mike dislikes, Jake and Mike like Romero, who Brett falls for which all sounds very confusing which in the novel it is definitely confusing for both the reader nd all the characters in the novel. Although her values do not align with those of society at the time, Lady Brett Ashley has her own set of values that she lives by. She values her freedom more than many women at the time did. Brett also values her individuality.
Her haircut is one of her ways of rebelling against what is expected of her and having a very distinct identity. She values charm, beauty, and charisma in both herself and others. Lady Ashley values company from other people, men especially. She does not like to be alone at anytime. Brett also values the power she wields over the men she is involved with. Lady Brett Ashley’s unique love life mirrors one of the main themes of “The Sun Also Rises. ”
The way that she wanders from man to man mimics the theme of the aimlessness of the “lost generation. She is unable to truly settle down because she has lost her faith in love, presumably when her “true love” died in the war. Her faith in love was further decimated when love betrayed her and she fell in love with Jake. “I’d just tromper you with everybody,” said Brett to Jake on page 62. The “lost generation” could not settle in life because the war destroyed moral beliefs and values. The fact that Romero wanted her to hange by growing out her hair and becoming more ladylike, contributed to her leaving him. Brett was unwilling to compromise her beliefs and values to remain with Pedro Romero.
Lady Brett Ashley also exemplifies the theme that focuses on the power that sex allows women to have over men in relationships. “He calls her Circe. He claims she turns men into swine. ” said Mike referring to Brett on page 148. She continues to wield this power strongest over Robert Cohn. This makes her the center of the mens’ worlds when she is around. Despite her unfaithfulness to Mike, her “power” keeps him from breaking off heir engagement. The Count is also quite taken with Lady Brett Ashley, he is willing to pay her a fair amount of money to vacation with him.
Her power reaches beyond those who she has sex with. While at the fiesta, a group of locals becomes quite taken with her and bring her into their midst. Her powers can be quite destructive. She causes Jake and Robert Cohn to get into several disagreements and leads to more malice towards Robert Cohn, thus driving a wedge into their friendship. Her relationship with him also causes Mike to have a great deal of animosity towards Robert Cohn. Brett’s disinterest in Cohn fter their trip to San Sebastian causes him to be more prone to violent outbursts in his interactions with the other men in the friend group.
He can’t be away from you. ” said Jake to Brett talking about Cohn’s inability to leave her alone on page 186. In the end she leaves Pedro Romero partially over the fear that her power will damage his future bullfighting career. “He wanted me to grow my hair out. Me, with long hair. I’d look so like hell. ” said Brett to Jake on page 245. Throughout the novel Lady Brett Ashley struggles with her desire for freedom which continually conflicts with her extreme desire to not be alone. This often causes her to behave in ways that stir up many conflicts.
Her inability to find the balance between freedom and male companionship causes her a great deal of emotional pain. She copes with this pain by partying, drinking, and sleeping with lots of men. Her personal values have a strong influence on her actions and the ways she conducts her life. Lady Ashley is a strong conveyor of a main theme in this novel, that power of sex is very strong and can easily become highly destructive. Her complicated love life is a metaphor for the complicated feelings the “lost generation” is attempting to comprehend and deal with.