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Traumatizing Arcadia: Postwar Pastoral in The Sun Also Rises

From: The Hemingway Review
Volume 32, Number 1, Fall 2012
pp. 57-71 | 10.1353/hem.2012.0017



Much WW I literature uses pastoral themes to rebuke the war, to represent the tendency of repression, and to express traumatic moments reexperienced by those in the trenches and at home. In The Great Gatsby and Parade's End, pastoral communicates questions concerning progress and postwar optimism felt by characters who work to recover the past, reconstruct the future, and repress the presence of the war and its consequences. However, Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises subverts pastoral's retreat-return structure in order to emphasize moments of traumatic re-emergence and to counter any idea of repression and recovery.