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Research on the Religious Implication of the Sun Also Rises

Author GaoCanCan
Tutor YuDongYun
School Shandong Normal University
Course Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords The Sun Also Rises Religious Implication Jack Barnes
Type Master's thesis
Year 2009
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Through the story’s settings and characters, The Sun Also Rises shows the complex religious situations of United States in the beginning of the 20th century. The religious situations in the novel reflect not only the questions of religious faith, but also the debate and the thought about society, history, culture and even race. I will study the novel in the view of religion, explaining the novel’s unique dealing with religious situations, digging out the hidden religious implication from the novel.The first part introduces the religious situation in the United States in the early 20th century. Then, the massive influx of immigrants not only promoted the development of the United States’religion, but also intensified the conflict among Protestantism, Catholicism and Judaism. However, the growth of the Church in the area of the number of believers and material strength does not reverse the trend of decline of the religious influence in the secular society. The church is still facing severe secularization challenges. In the process of secularization, the influence of traditional religions has irrevocably gone.The second part analyzes the religious situations in United States showed by The Sun Also Rises. Robert Cohn as the Jew in the novel is the scapegoat for anti-Semitism. Catholic priest and Bill who stared at each other on the train presented clear sectarian conflict. The avoidance towards the puritan echoes the young intellectuals’anti- Puritanism campaign in the early 20th century. Such anti-traditional attitude is fully embodied in hedonism; however, it displays the weakness of the Church’s absolute control on customs. Although it seems to be obvious that the young generation bid the tradition defiance, they are still influenced by tradition in fact. Romero’s love makes the "new woman" Brett Ashley in the dilemmas between the modern and the tradition. The process of her choice exposed her coexistence of the traditional and modern characteristics. The third part analyzes the main protagonist Jack Barnes’religious attitudes. Jack Barnes has a tendency to anti-Semitism. On the one hand, it is influenced by the historical surroundings; on the other hand, Jack is envious of Cohn. Jack’s Catholic faith enables him to break away from Puritanism by tensions between the Protestant and Catholic in United States, but the oldest traces of the Puritan ethic is still clearly visible in Jack’s character and some habits. The trip to Spain is a holy pilgrimage to seek religious rescue for Jack, on the trip, he firms his own Catholic faith. But, along with the rapid process of secularization, religious rescue in the modern time become weak. At the same time, Jack’s pilgrimage has modern overtones. Jack loves natural scenery in Spain, enjoys the fun of fishing, immerses himself in the Pamplona’s Bull ceremony and ultimately resorts to writing. These salvations that have aesthetic meaning become effective supplements for Jack’s religious pilgrimage.

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