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Men and Women: The performance of gender in A Farewell to Arms and The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this essay is to study and analyze how Hemingway portrays gender roles in his two novels The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms. This analysis is done by using the theoretical tools developed by Judith Butler’s theory of performativity and Michelle Lazar’s conceptualization of feminist critical discourse analysis. Butler’s theory of performativity is used to critically evaluate what the main protagonists of the two novels do and how they act, while Lazar’s feminist critical discourse analysis is used to analyze conversations and verbal interactions between the characters in the two books.

Hemingway’s narratives describe the characters’ problematic relationship to traditional gender roles. Hemingway himself, sometimes described as a “he-man” of the lost generation, was complicit with marketing himself as a tough male and created masculine characters with a strong masculine persona. But, as this thesis shows, the male protagonists created by Hemingway are men who also have softer and more feminine coded sides. This analysis shows further that the women of Hemingway’s novels are both women conforming to gender roles, expected from them during this time, but also women with their own agency. By creating this nuanced picture of gender, Hemingway created a complex idea of gender, and unsettled the fixed notion for it. This essay focuses on Brett Ashley and Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises and Catherine Barkley and Fredric Henry in A Farewell to Arms and how they tacitly revise their gender roles through certain acts and how they speak in relation to each other and other characters in Hemingway’s two novels.

This comparative analysis of the male and female characters in the two of Hemingway’s seminal novels demonstrates that gender norms in Hemingway are both affirmed and challenged by rendering them problematic. All four characters analyzed throughout this essay proved to both carry traits traditionally given to them, but also having behaviors more typically being given to the other gender.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Gender studies; Ernest Hemingway; Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis; masculinity; femininity; The Sun Also Rises; A Farewell to Arms
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Specific Literatures
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-175383OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-175383DiVA, id: diva2:1365008
Available from: 2020-02-09 Created: 2019-10-23 Last updated: 2020-02-09Bibliographically approved

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  • apa
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