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The Gun and the PenHemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner and the Fiction of Mobilization$
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Keith Gandal

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195338911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195338911.001.0001

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The Sun Also Rises and “Mobilization Wounds”

The Sun Also Rises and “Mobilization Wounds”

Emasculation, Joke Fronts, Military School Wannabes, and Postwar Jewish Quotas

(p.123) 4 The Sun Also Rises and “Mobilization Wounds”
The Gun and the Pen

Keith Gandal (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter turns to Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and discusses its plot and characters in terms of the wartime meritocratic mobilization and the postwar development of Jewish quotas at universities and medical schools. Jake's famous genital war wound is elucidated as an emasculation due to being posted at a “joke front,” an emasculation that Hemingway suffered even more intensely because he was ineligible for armed service on physical grounds and ended up as a Red Cross ambulance driver at the same “joke front.” Meanwhile, Jewish Robert Cohn, Jake's rival for Brett, is explained in terms of his “military school” background (whose significance critics have missed) as well as his experience at Princeton University (which was a leader in terms of excluding the ethnic “other”). Hemingway, who has a problem with the military because of his own implicit rejection by it, sets up a contrast between Jewish Cohn, neurotic military schoolboy, and bullfighter Romero, the true warrior. Brett is discussed in terms of the figure of the charity girl.

Keywords:   Jewish quota, ethnic quota, Robert Cohn, Jake, Brett, meritocracy, Anglo, charity girl, homosexual

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