In my gender criticism paper, I choose to examine the gender performances of Brett Ashley and Jake Barnes in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Instead of displaying Brett as a femme fatale or being careless, I focus more on the male characters’ failed forms of masculinity in reaction to Brett’s femininity. Hemingway wants the reader to see that his character of Brett is not a negative portrayal of a woman but is rather a test to the male characters and an opportunity to display their masculinity. The only true man of the text, ironically, is the impotent Jake Barnes who embraces feminization and embodies a new form of masculinity that does not rely on sexual performance or the traditional, pre-modern male gender role.
I have chosen to include my gender criticism paper in my portfolio because The Sun Also Rises is one of my all-time favorite texts and I find Hemingway’s take on masculinity to be simply fascinating. Gender criticism is quite new to me and I felt that this paper presented me with a great challenge; one I was eager to immerse myself in.