Analysis by “Interpreting Narratives” by H. Porter Abbott

Abbotts defines interpretation as a compound of ideas and judgment. In an attempt to understand the idea of Abbotts of an implied author as well as his narrating ideas, this paper discusses the way the role of Jakes as the narrator informs his character. The paper also brings out what he reveals about himself, specifically concerning this role.

Typically, the main events in forming the character of Jake starts even before the action of the novel. Jake is wounded as a soldier on the World War I. This aspect is not directly mentioned by Jake, but he brings this out through implications only noticeable through keen reading (Abbott 79). There are essentially a number of occasions when Jake implies this. This brings out the character of holding his feelings to himself rather than openly sharing them. For instance, Jake loses the ability to engage in sexual activity as a result of such injuries.

The narration of Jake is largely characterized by aspects like subtlety as well as an implication. In this regard, Jake seems to opt for hinting at things instead of stating them openly and directly. This behavior is more pronounced when such things revolve around the war or even his injury. At the start of the novel, the reader needs to be very keen in order to understand the true nature of his wound. His injury seems to affect him in many ways, but he decides to keep the problem only to himself rather than sharing information about it. Nevertheless, he sometimes later overcomes this difficulty of keeping it to himself by speaking the same issue openly after going fishing with Bill. His sensibility is overcome by the pressure behind his situation, but still, the nature of the problem is more implied than spoken by Jake himself as the narrator as it is the case with most implied characters (Abbott 79).

Further, it can be seen from the novel that the physical malady of Jake has physical consequences that are rather profound. In this regard, Jake appears to be a bit insecure regarding his masculinity. He cannot speak about this problem, but his actions imply this assertion. In essence, the refusal of Brett to be committed in a relationship with Jake seems to compound this problem. In fact, Brett is Jake’s love of his life (Hemingway). He suggests that Brett does not want to be committed since the relationship would imply that Brett has to give up sexual intercourse. Jack thus has a great feeling of being inadequate as a man. This can even be strengthened by his motif of being hostile towards Robert Cohn (Abbott 89). This hostility is perhaps based on his feelings of inadequacy.

In various ways, Jake can be considered to be a typical member of the “lost generation,” which is a generation made up of women and men with the World War I experience that in turn seems to undermine the way the belief and point of view towards social aspects like justice, manhood, morality, and love among others. Jake is one of these people as depicted by themes and motifs like his actions, which depicts the situation in which he is (Abbott 89). He is among the people of the same generation who seem to have lived an aimless life with an immoral existence that is devoid of true emotions and attributed to casual interpersonal cruelty (Hemingway).

A part of the character of Jake seems to represent the Lost Generation. Such character also portrays the generation’s unfortunate position just like Jake himself as seen through his actions. In light of this assertion, Jake wanders through various places including Paris. He goes from one bar to another drinking heavily at each of these bars portraying his life as being filled with purposeless debauchery. His actions father implies his capacity of being very cruel to some people like Cohn. His insecure feeling about his masculinity portrays his anxieties felt by the members of the Lost Generation. All these have been made possible through his role as the narrator which is visible through over-reading as an inevitable way of establishing gaps (Abbott 83).
Nevertheless, his role as the narrator portrays some unique actions that imply a special character from those people around him. He is very much aware of the aspect of his generation as being fruitless. At some point, he tells Cohn that one cannot get away from himself or herself by moving from a given place to another. He is even aware of his cruel behavior as well as that of his friends. He further knows that his injury has contributed to most of his problems. In general, he seems aware of all the problems affecting his life. He nevertheless seems to be unable or probably unwilling to remedy such problems. He understands the Lost Generation’s dilemma, yet he can free himself from it.

 

Work Cited
Abbott, H. Porter. “Chapter 7: Interpreting Narratives.” Abbott, H. Porter. The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 77-93. Print.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. Scribners, 1926. Print.

You Might Also Like