Ernest Hemingway’S The Sun Also RisesCode Hero
Ernest Hemingway is one of the authors named “The Lost Generation.” He could not cope with post-war America; therefore, he introduced a new type of character in writing called the code hero. He was known to focus his novels around code heroes who struggle with the mixture of their tragic faults and the surrounding environment. Traits of a typical Hemingway code hero are stimulating surroundings, self-control, self-reliance, fearlessness, and strict moral rules. In Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Pedro Romero is the character who maintains the typical code hero qualities, while Robert Cohn provides the antithesis of a code hero.
Pedro Romero comes closest to the embodiment of Hemingways’s code hero because of his strength, courage, and confidence. Brett is enchanted by this handsome, nineteen-year-old matador. He is a fearless figure who confronts death in his occupation; he is not afraid in the bullring and controls the bulls like a master. Pedro is the first man since Jake who causes Brett to lose her self-control. She says, “I can’t help it. I’m a goner now, anyway. Don’t you see the difference? I’ve got to do something I really want to do. I’ve lost my self respect.” In contrast, Pedro maintains his self-control in his first encounter with Brett. “He felt there was something between them. He must have felt it when Brett gave him her hand. He was being very careful.” Brett falls in love with Pedro as a hero. When Robert Cohn confronts Pedro because of his jealousy, Pedro demonstrates his confidence and strong will. Knocked down time and time again, Pedro rises each time refusing to be beaten. His controlled and dignified demeanor in an unusual situation contrasts sharply with Cohn’s fear and weakness. Pedro really wants to marry Brett because he wants to make sure she could never go away from him, but he will not compromise his expectations for a woman and will not accommodate Brett’s character even though he loves her. He leaves Brett willingly when he discovers that his ideals are impossible for her to accept. Pedro is a man of action and he does not, under any circumstance, compromise his beliefs or standards. He has been left untainted by Brett, sustaining his strong-willed, correct behavior. Moreover, he leaves without sulking like Robert Cohn.
Robert Cohn violates everything a Hemingway code hero represents. He is rich, gifted, and skillful and ready to discuss his emotions in detail. Robert refuses to admit defeat when Brett rejects him repeatedly. Unlike Pedro, when Cohn is hurt, he insists on complaining to everyone instead of suffering in silence. Cohn does nothing to assert his masculinity either. He allows people, especially women, to ridicule him and knock down his self-esteem. Cohn obviously cannot stand up for himself and does not take action when he should. Consequently, Robert has no self-control. When Pedro sleeps with Brett, he takes out his jealousy by beating him almost to death. Cohn is a complaining, weak, accommodating adolescent who has little understanding of others or himself.
On the whole, Pedro Romero strictly adheres to the qualities of the typical Hemingway code hero. He relies solely on himself, utilizes his assets, and enjoys bullfighting and other honorable activities. He is an individual of action and speaks not of what he believes; rather, he just does what he believes to be right subtly without any fanfare. On the other hand, Robert Cohn allows people to walk all over him and continually feels sorry for himself. He is a shallow person who loves on the fringes of life. In the end, the person who does not possess the code hero qualities can never discover himself. Therefore, he can never truly be happy.