1 THE JOURNAL OF NARRATIVB TECHNIQUE Volume twentv. number one Winter, 1990 CONTENTS Conrad's Nostomo and the Reader's Understanding of Anachronic Narratives The Sense of Ends in Graham Greene and'[he Power and the Glory "Primitive iont": A Tragedy of Revense Called The Sun Also Rises A Perfect Spy and a Great Tradition Escaping the "Time of History": Present Tense and the Occasion of Narration in J. M. Coetzee's Wuiting for the Burhurians I. S. Talib Daniel Diephouse Ernest Lockridge H. M. Daleski Annc Waldron Neumann 65
2 "Primitive Emotions": A Tragedy of Revenge Called The Sun Also Rises Ernest ktckridge "We have verv primitive emotions." he said. (Grein Hitts of Africa 293) When Jake Barnes, narrator of Ernest Hemingway's The Sun,4Lro Rises, takes his beloved Lady Ashley to " 'find' " (184) Pedro Romero. Barnes perpetrates the novel's central action. Its consequences are disastrous both for himself and for "ROBERT COHN" (3), the Jew whose narne supplies the first two words of the narrative and whose presence so stalks it that Barnes's story can be read as a palimpsest upon Cohn's. In addition to whatever one suffers for delivering one's love-objecto someone else for servicing, the act causes Barnes to lose Montoya's fiiendship and, presumably, the hotel-keeper's favored treatment during any future fiestas. The deeper implication is, of course, that Montoya has excommunicated Barnes from af cion, the passion which unites the quasi-religious brotherhood of bullfight-worshippers who meet annually in Montrrya'secular monastery (cf. 163). and which provides Barnes spiritual sustenance year-round, compensating a bit for his war-induced impotence. Excommunication is Barnes's penalty for exposing Romero, bulllighter-saint (13l-2) and savior of bullfighting (163-4). to corruption and abuse by the foulest of Barnes's foul fiiends (132, lll-2). No more brothcrly laying on of hands for Barnes, or embarrassed catechisms regarding the bullfight, or all-forgiving grace provided those blessed with aficion (l3l-2). Nor is this penalty the mere outward loss of a hotel-keeper's favor. Barnes has paid with thc inner spiritual loss of aficion. What remains to him, aside fiom a little fishing with the boys, is an impotent, soul-corroding passion, persisting like addiction or chronic disease, ior a jaunty. alcoholic nymphomaniac. "You gave up something," notes poor old Barnes, "and got something else" (148). Cohn is quite simply "'ruined"' (203) by Barnes's act. "'l fblt so terribly,"' Cohn infilrms Barnes, following the violently jealous Cohn's bash-up of Romero. " 'l've bcen through such hell, Jake,'" continues Cohn. "'Now everything's gone. Everything.' " " 'Well,' " responds Barncs. " 'l've got to go.' " In the flnal chapter, a selfcongratulatory Brett Ashley tells Barnes. "'l'm all right again. IRomero's] wiped out that damned Cohn.' " "'Good' " (243). says Barnes.
3 "Primitive Emotions" +t Why Barnes performs his service for tady Ashley, performs it virnrally in public, in the face of Montoya's warning and entirely predictable censure,r and at such cost to himself, poses a dilemma. Barnes's motivation is perhaps the central dramntic problem in the novel, and here-as virtually everywhere else in discussions of The Sun Also Rises-criticism tends to take Barnes at his word, at his own judgment and self-explanation. As the most widely-reprinted essay on the novel tells us, Barnes, like Cohn, does what he does out of LOVE:... Brett [has] reduced [Barnes] to a slavish pimp. When she asks for his help in her affair with Pedro, Barnes.. can only serve her as Cohn has served her, like a sick romantic steer. Thus, for love' sake, he will allow her to use him as a go-between, to disgrace him with his friend, Montoya, corrupt Romero.... (Spilka 135; emphasis mine;r It should be noted that Cohn's own romantic service adopts a less generous and selfless form: Cohn acts out of sexual jealousy, for revenge. Barnes, himself, is a bit tight-lipped in elucidating his own motive, but he makes the critic's point well enough. One need only skip backward two chapters, from Chapter XVI, in which Barnes performs his act of "love," to Chapter XIV, where he has prepared the reader for this act by elucidating his "philosophy" of "exchange of values": Women made such swell friends. Awfully swell. In the first place, you had to be in love with a wontan to have a basis of friendship. I had been having Brett for a friend. I had not been thinking about her side of it. I had been getting something for nothing. That only delayed the presentation ofthe bill. The bill always came. That was one of the swell things you could count on. I thought I had paid fbr everything. Not like the woman pays and pays and pays. No idea of retribution or punishment. Just exchange of values. You gave up something and got sonrething else. (148) In Chapter XVI, then, cornes Lady Ashley's "presentation of the bill": "Do you still love me, Jake'l" "Yes." I said. "Because I'm a goner.. I'm mad abouthe Romero boy. I'm in love with him, I think.... What do you think it's meanto have that damned Jcw about.." "What do you want me to do?" "Come on," Brett said. "Let's go and find him." (183-4) Whereupon Barnes proceeds to honor his "love" debt. Q.E.D.-unless one chooses not to swallow whole Barnes's account of his own motives. What can it be that Barnes truly believes he has been "gerting...tbr nothing" from Lady Ashley, besides a sadistically flaunted run of betrayals? He is by no means blind to Lady Ashley's ongoing faithlessness (cf. "This was the Brett that I had felt like crying about" [3a]). She rubs his face in it. When he
4 44 The Journal of Narrative Technique does manage somehow to miss an Ashleyan trick, she patiently sets him straight: "'Who did you think I went down to San Sebastian with?"' (81). What "the woman" in Barnes' specific case has been paying out is a bounty in pain and grief-nothing fbr something. His reasoning is disingenuously at odds with obvious reality. Moreover, the ruin of Cohn, of whose escapade with Lady Ashley Barnes confesses that he is "blind, unforgivingly jealous" (99), would according to this reading seem to occur merely as fortuitous byproduct, an unintended result of Barnes nobly honoring his debt by using some young guy for currency, and not as an end that Barnes deliberately pursues with calculation and design. Nor does the Barnes version square with Hemingway's techniques of indirection and irony in his landmark works (Halliday), which as a result demand "a considerabl effort" from the reader (Trilling 69). "I know," Hemingway writes Owen Wister (c. 25 July 1929), "how damned much I try always to do the thing by three cushion shots rather than by... direct statement" (Selected lztters 301). Of course, it might be said that in The Sun Also Ri.ses he took an easy shot, one which, more than anywhere else in his early and best work, makes him target to the charge of sentimentality, and sentimentality of a particularly trite and sappy stamp, beneath a "tough" exterior. In the terms of Hemingway's famous metaphor describing his artistic method-"the dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of its being above water" (Death 192)-eight-eighths would here seem to be floating about on the surface. But in fact, Barnes's "intimate revelations," to expropriate the self-damning formulation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's narrator Nick Carraway (Lockridge 164), "are marred by obvious suppressions" (l)-or, rather, by one great big suppression that lies at the novel's core, driving both the story and how Barnes tells it. Couched in denial and self-disgust, Barnes's suppressed motive leaks, here, from around the periphery of his "fine philosophy": "The bill always came.... No idea of retribution or punishment. Just exchange of values... I liked to see [Mike] hurt Cohn. I wished he would not do it, though, because afterward it made me disgusted at myself' (148-9). Hemingway allows Barnes to let down his guard only once, in a "direct statement" that comprises Barnes's one moment of complete candor: Why I t-elthat inrpulse to devil [Cohn] I do not know. Of course I do know. I was blind, unforgivingly jealous of what had happened to him. The facthat I took it as a matter of coune did not alter that any. I certainly did hate him. (99) "[R]etribution and punishment" are by no means peripheral, or an eccentric singularity; they are the whole narrative's primary mover. I will argue that the violent sexual jealousy that Barnes bears toward Robert Cohn, and Barnes's consequent desire for revenge, motivate the novel's central action and overall structure, from Barnes's sarcastic no-win attack on Cohn which begins the novel, to Barnes's act of " 'damned pimp[ing]' " (190), which predictably destroys Cohn, to the emotional emptiness and self-revulsion with which this Pyrrhic victory leaves Barnes at novel's end. That the narrative-driving fbrce of sexual jealousy and revenge has apparently eluded the conscious awareness of critics, at least in the
5 "Primitive Emotions" 45 voluminous published criticism, is tantamount to Hemingway's having driven unnoticed through the middle of a vigilant crowd a brilliantly camouflaged Mack truck. The omnipresent Cohn does not function merely as some sort of thematic or allegorical "double" to Barnes.r As the quarry of Barnes's jealous obsession, he is, in terms of plot, the novel's sine qua non, as essential to The Sun Also Rises as the Moor of Venice is to Othello. " 'Why don't you start living your life in Paris?' " (ll) an exasperated Barnes asks Cohn in Chapter li, when Cohn is entertaining thoughts of going to South America. The way in which Cohn begins following this advice in Chapter III must seem to Barnes a pleasant irony: "I saw Robert Cohn looking at lbrett] a great deal as his compatriot must have looked when he saw the promised land." " 'You've made a new one there,' " Barnes tells Lady Ashley. Barnes does not find out until after her return from San Sebastian (83) what her extended conversation with Cohn portends ("Cohn was talking to her.. Cohn was still talking to Brett" ), but the Barnes who is narrating all this in retrospect knows only too well-just as he knows that Cohn's reason subsequently for remaining in Paris is nor Frances Clyne (37), ft is Brett Ashley. That Barnes apprehends Cohn as a rival underlies their brilliantly written skirrnish in Chapter V (37-40), after Cohn's first encounter with Lady Ashley. " 'Thought any more about going to South Americal' " Barnes asks Cohn. " 'Well, why don't you start offl' " Barnes pursues, though it is now entirely too late. When Cohn confides, " 'I shouldn't wonder if I were in love with [Brett],'" the tonc and substance of Barnes's response reveal something quite other than merely " 'trying to give [Cohn] the facts' ": " 'She's a drunk,' " asserts Barnes. " 'She's in love with Mike Campbell, and she's going to marry him. He's going to be rich as hell some day.... She's thirty-four.... She's [married somebody she didn't love] twice.' " By blackening Lady Ashley's character, a suspicious and jealous Barnes attempts to put off Cohn from pursuing her. When, near the end of this exchange, Cohn tells Barnes, " ' You'rc really the best friend I have, Jake,' " Barnes thinks, "Godhelpyou..." After Lady Ashley informs Barnes, in Chaptcr IX, of her affair with Cohn (83), Barnes's narrative bristles with assaults, large and small, on Cohn: from sarcasm in the narrative voice, to deviling (99) Cohn and helping to scapegoat him, tt., an ultimate devilment which undoes Cohn completely. Following Lady Ashley's confidence almost everything Cohn says and does, no matter how innocent or innocuous it might seem in any other context, is somchow wrong. Beneath Barnes's tone lies an omnipresent sneer: "Cohn madc some remark about [the cathedral] being a very good example of something or other, I firrget what. It seemed like a nice cathedral.. " (90); "[w]e paid for the beers, we nratched and I think Cohn paid" (91);"Robert Cohn asked, pointing with his tinger, if there werc any trout in the stream..." (92): "I was up in front with the driver and I turned around. Robert Cohn was asleep, but Bill looked and nodded his head" (93); "[Cohn] said it with an air of superior knowledge that irritated both of us" (95); "Robert Cohn had taken a bath, had had a shave and a haircut and a shampoo, and something put on his hair afterward to make it stay down"-to which Barnes adds, "He was nervous, and I did not try to help hirn any" (97). These snccring
6 46 The Journal of Narrative Technique nuances are underscored when Barnes says, "I do not think I ever really hated him until he had that little spell of superiority at lunch-that and when he went through all that barbering" (99). Barnes makes cohn a target of "devilment" immediately following lady Ashley's little confidence in Chapter IX, when, knowing that her presence in Spain will be " 'rough on [Cohn],' " Barnes directs her to " 'Tell him you're coming' " (84). At the end of chapter IX, cohn appears and Barnes introduces Bill Gorton to him as " 'Bill Grundy.' " This seemingly pointless mistake is actually a petty tactic to throw Cohn off balance, though in spite of nearsightedness, Cohn manages "to make.. out" Gorton's true identity (89) and to say something nice. In the next chapter, X, Barnes continues to "devil" Cohn and to enjoy it: Cohn got up from the table and said he would go to the station [to see if Brett had arrivedl. I said I would go with him, just to devil him.... I was enjoying Cohn's nervousness. I hoped Brett would be on the train.. I have never seen a man in civil life as nervous as Robert Cohn... I was enjoying it. It was lousy to enjoy it, but I felt lousy. (98) Barnes pockes tady fuhley's telegram, though 'brdinarily [he] should have handed it over" to cohn, and falsifies its content. It is then that Barnes admits that his "impulse to devil" Cohn derives from blind, unforgiving jealousy (99), which lends another passage near the beginning of Chapter X an unmistakable ominousness its juxtaposition of Cohn and a cockroach: While we were waiting [fbr Robert Cohn] I saw a cockroach on the parquet floor that must have been at leasthree inches long. I pointed /rirn out to Bill and then put my shoe on him. Cohn came down finally... (91; emphasis rnine) Barnes wants to crush Cohn. He requires only opportunity and means, and these present themselves in the shapely form of Pedro Romero. Fuchs claims that Barnes "does what he can to keep Romero from" Lady Ashley (ll0),4 but precisely the opposite is true. Barnes observes, on first seeing Romero, "He was the best-looking boy I have ever seen"; when Montoya asks if Barnes doesn't think Romero is a " 'fine boy,' " Barnes returns to Romero's looks:,,.he's a good-looking kid,' I said" (163). Predictably, Lady Ashley agrees: " 'Oh, isn'r he lovely,' Brett said. And those green trousers.' "s c*brett never took her eyes off them,' " Mike informs Barnes (165). Then comes this exchange: "l wanto sit down below. nextime." Brett drank tiom her glass of absinthe. "She wants to see the bull-fighters close by," Mike said. "They are sonrething," Brett said. "That Romero lad is just a chilcl." "He's a datnned good-looking fux', " I said. "When we were up in his room I never saw a better-looking kid. "How old do you suppose he is?" "Nineteen or twenty." 'tust imagine it." (167; enrphasis mine)
7 "Primitive Emotions" A1 Here, responding to Lady Ashley's " Just a child' " comment, Barnes twice emphasizes Romero's physical attractiveness and-having learned shortly before that "[the] boy was nineteen years old" (163)-exaggerates the bullfighter's age. These are not the remarks of a man who wants to keep a woman at arm's length from another man. On the contrary, Barnes is enticing Lady Ashley with Romero's extraordinary looks. He is suggesting that what she doubtless imagines is not cradlerobbing. Most significantly, Barnes has begun hinting to Lady Ashley not only that he knows whither her appetites are tending but that he is in complete sympathy. He approves. The following day at the bullfight, Barnes extolls to Lady Ashley, a rapid learner, the extraordinary virtues of Romero's technique: "I sat beside Brett and explained to Brett what it was all about.... I had her watch how Romero took the bull... smoothly and suavely.... " Under Barnes's tutelage, she sees "how Romero [avoids] every brusque movement... how close Romero always [works] to the bull... why she fiikes] Romero's cape-work" (167), etc. Barnes's bullfightappreciation lesson ends with this exchange among Barnes, Lady Ashley, and Mike: 'And God, what looks." Brett said. "I believe, you know, that she's falling in love with this bullfighter chap," Mike said. "l wouldn't he surprised." "Be a good chap, Jake. Don't tell her anything more about him. Tell her how they beat their old mothers." "Tell me what drunks they are." "Oh, frightful," Mike said. "Drunk all day and spend all their tinre beating their poor old mothers." "He looks that way," Brett said. "Doesn'r he?" I said. (168; emphasis mine) Mike's nervous banter reveals his distinct unease regarding Barnes's selling of Romero to Lady Ashley. An enlarged appreciation of Romero's bullfighting has certainly not blinded Mike's fianc6e to Romero's " 'looks.' " Barnes, meanwhile, subtly encourages Lady Ashley to believe that her desire for Romero is fine, even rather ennobling, and that Barnes is on her side. As Barnes has said ofthe bullfight, "something [is] going on with a definite end" (167). Barnes's secret agenda, to bring Lady Ashley and Romero together, achieves results the next day. Lady Ashley proposes to Barnes, " 'You might introduce your friends.... ' She had not stopped looking at Pedro Romero" (175). Right aftcr Barnes performs the introductions, Romero takes the bait, "sitting beside Brett and listening to her" (175),"fingering his glass and talking with Brett. Brett was talking French and he was talking Spanish and a little English, and laughing" (176). Mike's jabbing at Cohn, already a source of Schadenfreude for Barnes, gains in intensity, because Mike now displaces his newly aroused jealousy of Romero onto Cohn. Mike progresses from, " 'Tell [Romero] Brett wants to see him put on those green pants' " (176), to, " 'Do you think you amount to something, Cohn'l
8 48 The Journal of Narrative Techniaue Do you think you belong here among us?... Do you think Brett wants you here.. Go away.... Thke that sad Jewish face away' " (177). Cohn, whose presence Barnes omits to mention for more than three pages into the scene (172-6), is witness to everything, including Barnes's introduction and Lady Ashley's exclamatory outrageousness: " 'My Godl he's a lovely boy.... And how I would love to see him get into those clothes. He must use a shoe-horn' " (177). Cohn's own inevitable jealousy of Romero-of the matador's youth, vitality, skill, beauty, and prominent virility-coupled with Mike's persistent attacks, goads Cohn into readiness "to do battle for his lady love" (178). So effectively have Barnes's manipulations worked that events now have their own momentum. Montoya walks in on this spectacle and catches Barnes at his dirty work: [Montoya] started to smile at me, then he saw Pedro Romero with a big glass of cognac in his hand, sitting laughing between me and a woman with bare shoulders, at a table full of drunks. He did not even nod. (177) At this moment Barnes must feel that he irrevocably loses Montoya's respect. Further, through the disapproving eyes ofan outsider whom he deeply respecls, Barnes can see more clearly the dismal effect his actions are having upon people he has no desire to harm: these are not the "'friends' " he wants to "'kill"' (186). But he will do nothing to arrest the momentum; his hatred for Cohn is simply too profound (cf. 182). Thus when Mike begins a toast " 'to-,' " Barnes butts in with " 'Pedro Romero' " (111), in sardonic recognition that, his instrument of revcnge in place, Barnes himself has stepped over the precipice. Events begin unravelling with the predictability of "some bad play" (192). Lady Ashley tests the water to make certain shc still has the power to get what she wants out of Barnes: " 'Do you still love me, Jake?' " His " 'Yes' " (183) precipitates the self-pity he has heard so ofien before-most notably at the end of Book I, where she says, " 'Oh, darling... I'm so miserable,' " and Barnes has "that f'eeling of going through something that has all happened before.. as in a nightmare of it all being something repeated, something I had been through and that now I must go through again"'(64). Vocal self-pity is Lady Ashley's tried-and-true method of twisting Barnes's reins. Now, aftcr announcing, " 'l'm mad about the Romero boy,' " she commences with: "'l've never been able to help anything.. I've lost my self-respect... What do you think it's meant to have that damned Jcw about,' " etc. Finally Barnes has heard enough. " 'What do you want me to do?' " he asks (183-4)-as if he didn't know. Lady Ashley drops her routinc and comcs to the point: " 'Come on. Let's go and find him.' " Barnes nray have little appetite for what he is about to accomplish, but he will not be sidetracked; when she says of Romero, " 'l can't look at him,' " Barnes, pandering away, counters with, " 'He's nice to look at' " (184). Romero. who has already displayed plenty of interest in Lady Ashley, is as predictable as any other healthy heterosexual male teenager. Cohn, the object of Barncs's jealous hatred and covcrt manipulation, is ruined by his own jealous hatred of Ronrero. In terms of the Barnes "philosophy." Cohn has "been gctting somcthing firr nothing. That only delayed
9 "Primitive Emotions" 49 the presentation of the bill. The bill always came." Barnes has now seen to it that Cohn receives "retribution and punishment," that he "pays and pays and pays" (148). Nowhere in The Sun Also Rises is there any indication that Cohn knows anything at all of Barnes's impotence or of his love for Lady Ashley. Thus Cohn cannot be accused ofcruelty toward Barnes, or even ofconscious rivalry; at worst, Cohn is somewhat unobservant. Bill Gorton knows of Barnes's wound, presumably because Barnes has confided in him (102, ll5), something Barnes has never done and would never do with Cohn. Yet even Gorton must figure out on his own Barnes's feelings for Lady Ashley (123), a task which Barnes tries to confound by feigning disinterest, for example saying to Gorton at one point, " 'Mike was pretty excited about his girl friend' " (80). Barnes, who would " 'a hell of a lot rather not talk about it' " (124), has obviously not talked about it to Cohn, who is less observant than Gorton and as a result gels blind-sided. Cohn sees his " 'best friend' " (39), his " 'only friend' " (194), inexplicably pimping the woman Cohn " '[loves] so' "(194) to another man-and that is all he sees. Nevertheless, Cohn begs Barnes's forgiveness (194) and from the depths of his misery is able to express concern fbr his nemesis. His exit line is: " Are you all right, Jake?' " (195). Cohn never knows what, or who, hits him and is destroyed from behind-" '[a] big horn wound... right through the back' " (197-8)-in the dark, by an enemy he cannot see. During their final scene together, Barnes notes that "[i]n the dark I could not see [Cohn's] face very well" (195). There are similar moments-"somehow I feel I have not shown Robert Cohn clearly" (a5); "[he] was a little near-sighted. I had never noticed it before" (89)-which hint of Barnes's own blindness to Cohn. "[B]lind, unforgivingly jealous" (99), Barnes has become virtually blind to Cohn's membership in the human race, which leads to Barnes's placing blinders on the reader. Beginning with the patronizing sarcasm of the opening sentences, Barnes's narrative strategy is to excommunicate Robert Cohn from all human synrpathy: ROBERT COHN was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. Do not think that I am very much impressed by that as a boxing title, but it meant a lot to Cohn. He cared nothing for boxing. I never met any one of his class who remembered him. They did not even remember that he was middleweight boxing champion. (3-4) Cohn's very honesty and niceness, impossible to deny. become liabilities: "l mistrust all frank and simple people, especially when their stories hold together" (4), etc. The first chapter's devastation far exceeds Cohn's offenses of naivete and gaucheness-certainly it exceeds any quantifiable offense by Cohn against Barnesand things are just beginning: Chapter I sends merely an invitation to the reader to participate in the drawn-out scapegoating of Robert Cohn. The very inditing of the story thus becomes an extension of the vengeance which now consumes Barnes entirely. Not content with having ruined Cohn in life, Barnes casts the account of what happened along a trajectory designed to ruin Cohn forever. History belongs, as usual, to the victor. It is as though telling the story of Othello were in the hands of Iaso.6
10 50 The Journal of Nanative Technique And what is it, really, that makes Barnes so all-consumingly jealous of Cohn? "[T]he fact that" Barnes takes the affair itself "as a matter of course" does not in any way "alter" his hatred of Cohn (99). Barnes knows that Lady Ashley is chronically promiscuous, that she is on the verge of marrying yet another man. What could suddenly have the power to create such a quantum leap in this primitive emotion? Barnes provides an explanation of sorts, but one where the effect seems grossly out of all proportion to the cause: "I do not think I ever really hated him until he had that little spell of superiority at lunch-that and when he went through all that barbering" (99). Bill, however, also present at Cohn's "little spell of superiority," begins providing the true answer: " 'Well, let him not get superior and Jewish"' (96). Barnes's friends, including Lady Ashley, who refers to her latest sexual partner as " 'that damned Jew' " (184), are given to expressions of anti-semitism (102, 162, 164, 177, 203). But then so is Barnes: He had a hard, Jewish, stubborn streak. (10) ".. Haven't you got some more Jewish friends you could bring along?" [asks Bill.] "You've got some fine ones yourself [, says Barnes]." (l0l) He was so good that Spider promptly overmatched him and got his nose permanently flattened. This increased Cohn's distaste for boxing, but it gave him a certain satisfaction ofsome strange sort, and it certainly improved his nose. (3) She stood holding the glass and I saw Robert Cohn looking at her. He looked a great deal as his compatriot must have looked when he saw the promised land. Cohn, ofcourse, was much younger. But he had that look ofeager, deserving expectation. (22) Criticism has attempted to explain anti-semitism in The Sun Also Rises in terms of forces external to any meaningful design within the novel: as an effect of the anti-semitism of Hemingway's era and of the fact that Harold Loeb, a model for Cohn, happened to be a Jew.7 I would argue, however, that anti-semitism is artistically central to The Sun Also Rises. Anti-Semitism is not a flaw in the novel; it is the deepest flaw in the novel's narrator, the flaw upon which his jealous hatred is predicated. It is as irrelevant to Barnes that Cohn is a Jew as it is to Iago that Othello is a Moor. More blunt than Barnes, Iago explains in soliloquy that he is pursuing revenge in part because he suspects that "the lusty Moor" has bedded Iago's wife, the very thought of which so "gnaws [Iago's] inwards" that "nothing can or shall content [his]soul" until he has "put the Moor... into a jealousy so strong" that it is beyond all reason.s No "little spell of superiority at lunch.. and when [Cohn] went through all that barbering" (99) carries sufficient power to arouse Barnes's undying hatred and his obsession with evening the score by arousing the same jealousy in Cohn. Cohn may be childish and annoyingly gauche, but such traits provide pale motive indeed for the depth of Barnes's hatred and the destructiveness of his revenge. Plenty of other " 'chaps' " (143) manage to pass Lady Ashley's muster-
11 "Primitive Emotions" 5l among them, an elderly Greek count, a bullfighter, an alcoholic Englishmanwithout arousing in Barnes feelings that begin to approach the jealous hatred he feels toward Cohn. Lady Ashley neither loves Cohn nor even likes him; she is unwilling to continue the affair, a one-shot adventure that " '[doesn't] mean anything' " to her (l8l)-thus Cohn poses Barnes no threat as a rival for her affection. Why should Barnes bother himself about Cohn at all? It is Mike, who often functions in the novel as proxy assailant and spokesman for Barnes, who inadvertently provides Barnes's unspoken motive: " 'Brett's gone off with men. But they weren't ever Jews...' " (143; emphasis mine). What Barnes cannot tolerate is the fact that the woman he loves has been bedded by a Jew. Barnes is more forthright about his homophobia than about his anti-semitism: he openly expresses fury toward the homosexuals in whose company Lady Ashley first appears, employing an adjective he and others later trot out against Cohn: "I know...you should be tolerant, but I wanted to swing on one, any one, anything to shatter that. superior, simpering composure" (20; emphasis mine). Though Barnes does allow his anti-semitism to slip out occasionally, he feels it too shameful a motive for his shameful manipulations to confess it openly. Again employing Mike's words, " '[it] reflects great discredit' " (135) on him and therefore must, like those manipulations, be suppressed when he recounts the story. But only anti-semitism adequately accounts for the depth of Barnes's antipathy and for his self-destroying act of vengeance. Small wonder that after doing Cohn in, Barnes feels the need to wash himself.e But "the water [will] not run" (195). Though Barnes is in the grips of jealous obsession, it is his abiding moral sense-his profound shame and self-disgust-that makes the novel what Hemingway called it, "a damn tragedy" (Letters 229), and that conceals both the tragic act and the tragic flaw. "I liked to see [Mikel hurt Cohn. I wished he would not do it, though, because afterward it made me disgusted at myself ' (148-9). Given the degree of his own offense, far beyond lvlike's pathetic jibes, Barnes is too ashamed of himself to admit openly what he has done and why. Thus the novel's great obliqueness and difficulty-'bnly one-eighth of [the ice-berg's] being above water"- grow directly from the character of its narrator. That Barnes suppresses what causes him the most shame is only human nature, but his creator makes Barnes in all other ways honest: Barnes does not conceal the facts in the case, which speak for themselves. He is a basically decent manunlike Iago- who has suffered tandem catastrophes: receiving a "funny" (31) wound and falling in love with, of all people, Lady Ashley. "Those to whom evil is done [d]o evil in return," writes Auden (518). It is Barnes's moral sense that brings him to "the end of the line" (239). His "death" is not physical, as befalls the revenger-hero in the traditional revenge tragedy; it is the spiritual death, the terminal self-revulsion, of someone who has done the unpardonable and knows it-and knows, further, that he has sold his soul for nothing. By the end of The Sun Also Rises Barnes is in such bad shape that even Lady Ashley finally notices something is the matter and begs him not to get drunk: "'You don't have to"' (246). As usual she has been lousy company for Barnes. Repeatedly expressing a desire not to talk about her escapade with Romero-
12 52 The Journal oj Narrative Technique " 'let's not talk about it. Let's never talk about it' "(242)-she is scarcely able to talk about anything else. Barnes ups his consumption of alcohol. His responses become increasingly clipped, tinged with an underlying bitterness, as he sees the obvious truth to which love has been blinding him: Lady Ashley does not love him. She never has. If "love" carries even a fractional part ofthe burden that the priest in A Farewell to 'When Arms assigns it-" you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve' " (72)-all of Lady Ashley's behavior toward Barnes, which he clearly and painfully recounts throughout his narrative, reveals that she does not love him: her mockery when she finds him with a prostitute (" 'lt's in restraint of trade,' Brett said. She laughed again" ), her tormenting game of kiss-me/kiss-me-not (25:l, 34, 65), her casual desertion of him for Mippipopolous (28-9), her efforts at pitting Barnes and Mippipopolous against one another as rivals (33-4, 52ff.), her standing Barnes up (41), going off with Cohn and making sure Barnes knows (83), giving Bill the eye in Barnes's presence (74-6), being openly intimate with Mike (78-80, 147), grossly displaying her appetite for Romero (165, 177) and making clear that her sole concern is for /ris physical condition when she disregards Barnes's timid bid for a moment of sympathy (" 'Knocked me out,' " Barnes tells her, regarding Cohn, " '[t]hat was all.' " " 'I say,' " responds Lady Ashley, " 'he did hurt Pedro Romero,... hurt him most badly' " ). Lady Ashley's one "'true love' " (39) died of dysentery, and every man since has existed for his utility-as bed-partner, drinking buddy, rescuer. She likes to add them up (23), to let them down (29, 4l); their pitiable rivalries elevate her low self-esteem. But she does not love them. When she tells the clear-eyed Mippipopolous, whose arrow wounds are healed over, " 'I love you, count,"' he can see that "'it isn't true"' (60). Because Barnes loves her so slavishly, she knows that she can manipulate him into a variety of services, such as providing rescue money, a shoulder to weep on, and introductions to other men. Like the homosexuals with whom she and Barnes change partners (Chapter III), Barnes is someone she " 'can drink [with] in such safety, too' " (22).And, like her dalliance with Cohn, " 'it [doesn't] mean anything' " (l8l). Barnes is entirely correct to "suppose she only wanted what she couldn't have" (31), but what she wants is her dead " 'true love.' " Thus Barnes's irony without pity (cf. ll3-4) when he responds to Lady Ashley's, "'Oh, Jake... we could have had such a damned good time together' ": " 'Isn't it pretty to think so'" (247). Losing in the end even the illusion that he has been loved, the winner takes nothing. The Ohio State Universitv Columbus, Ohio
13 "Primitive Emotions" 53 NOTES l. Barnes tells us (Chapter XIII): "For one who had aficion [Montoya] could forgive anything. At once he forgave me all my friends. Without his ever saying anything they were simply a little something shameful between us, like the spilling open of the horses in bullhghting" (132). This underlines Montoya's warning to Barnes later, near the beginning of Chapter XVI, where Montoya begins by asking, " 'Where are your friendil' " smiling "his embarrassed smile" (l7l). He then administers what Barnes has described earlier as "a sort of oral.. examination with the questions always a little on the defensive" (132), in order to make certain they both understand that such "'[p]eople"' (the tactful Montoya does not openly malign Barnes's friends) mean Romero only harm: " 'People take a boy like that. They don't know what he's worth.. There's one American woman down here now that collects bull-fighters.... He shouldn't mix with that stuff " (172) This same chapter (XVI) ends with Barnes delivering Lady Ashley to Romero. As T. S. Eliot has written (22), 'After such knowledge. what forgiveness?" 2. More recently Merrill advanced a similar interpretation; and Reynolds writes that the novel "is... about the corruption ofjakes Barnes, whose hopeless love for Brett leads him to pimp away his menrbership in Montoya's select club of uficion" (63). Waldhorn refers to Barnes's "scrupulous objectivity in reporting" and his 'derachment" (Reader's Guide 95); Fuchs calls Barnes "one of Hemingway's moral scorekeepers" (ll0). But the Davidsons distinguish be(ween author and narrator, as does Wyatt (56-60). 3. Cf.: Spilka 121, ; Rovit 152 ff.; Waldhorn, Reader'.s Guide lo And cf. Donaldson: "Brett further compromises lbarnes's] integrity by persuading him to take her to Pedro Ronrero" (28). 5. Green is the color traditionally associated with envy and jealousy. 6. Wyatt states that Barnes's "gratuitous bile" in the novel's opening paragraphs llows from his "rage at Cohn's inability to appreciate a potency that he possesses and the narrator lacks," and that "Jake's Inot Cohn's] is the story which doesn't hold together" (57). 7. Cf.: an excellent overview ol'thc anti-semitisrn issuc in Waldhorn. Reudcr's Guide 239: Meyers 155-9; Reynolds Donaldson indicates that anti-semitism plays a part in Barnes's belittling of Cohn (30-2); also, Waldhorn 103. Hemingway's own underlying sympathy fbr Cohn may, in part, rel)ect the influence of Joyce's U1,r's.re.s, which Hemingway admired ((hough apparently he did not linish reading it;, especially Leopold Bloom. Cf.: Selected ktters ,354; Nrct Adams Stories 246; Lynn 16l. 8. II. i ll (1071). I can only speculate whether Henringway designed The Sun AIso Rlse.r-in which the lago-like figure assumes the role of tragic hero--as. in part. an intaglio or negative for Othelltr Possrbly Hemingway means the black drummer-" 'a great friend of " Lady Ashley's, who at the end of Book I is shouting " 'You can't two time' " (63-4)-to suggest an oblique association with Shakespeare's Moor (this passage, in context with Lady Ashley's promiscuity throughouthe novel, hints that she also sleeps with the drummer). In Book II, there is Bill's "'noble-ltxrkrng.''' "'[slplendid,'""'[wlonderful,'" and "'married"'black boxer. who is two-timed in the ring (70-2); Cohn is, of course, a boxer. That Hemingway madc unambiguous allusions to Othello throughout his career indicates that the play was of some impor-
14 54 The Journal of Narrative Technique tance to him. In a humorous l92l Toronto Star Weekly article. "Condensing the Classics," Hemingway both condenses the story and casts it in modern dress: "Society girl, wed to African war hero, found strangled in bed.. It was just a little over two years ago that Captain Frank Othello stepped off the transport at Hoboken..." (78-9). Other allusions draw or imply parallels between Othello and Hemingway's protagonists. In A Farewell to Arms, Catherine Barkley-sensing that Frederic Henry, an army deserter. is jealous of her friend, Miss Ferguson-teasingly calls him " 'Othello with his occupation gone.."' (257). A backhanded comparison appears in Acru;ss the River and into the Trees: "They [Cantwell, the grizzled warrior, and Renata, his teenaged mistressl were not Othello and Desdemona, thank God, although it was the same town and the girl was certainly better looking than the Shakespearean character, and the Colonel had fought as many, or more times than the garrulous Moor" (230). Perhaps the most intriguing of these direct allusions occurs in Green Hills of Africa, that strange and virtually uncharted "true novel," when the Hemingway character drunkenly says, "'Call Garrick[ablack].Tell himl'll puthiminthecinema.gotapartforhim...lt may not work out but I like the plot. Othello or the Moor of Venice.. It's got a wonderful idea.... They've been afier me to write it fitr ltears but I drew the color line. Let him go out and get a reputation [in the boxing ring], I told them" (166; emphasis mine). This firsrperson narrative concerns itself with a character/narrator named "Hemingway" who-leaving his wife (P.O.M., for "'Poor old Mamma"' ) back in camp with "Pops," the white hunter she adores (e.g., she finds him " 'beautiful' " )-goes obsessively about trying to bag himself the largest set of horns in Africa. 9. This parallels Lady Ashley's need to bathe in consequence of her own activity. Appearing in company with Mippipopolous at Barnes's flat when Barnes "'was just bathing,' " she says, " Aren't you the fortunate man. Bathing' " (53); immediately fbllowing her affair with Cohn, she says, " 'l say I'm just back [from San Sebastian]. Haven't bathed even. Michael comes in to-night.. Must clean myself.. Must bathe' " (74); sleeping with Mike in the hotel which Mike calls a "'brothel,"'she says. "'l mustbathe...''(83). WORKS CITED Auden, W. H. "September I, 1939." The Major ktets: Englislt und Americurt. Ed. Charlcs M. Coftln. New Yrrk: Harcourt Davidson, Arnold 8., and Cathy N. Davidson. "Decoding thc Hemingway Hcro in 77rc Sun Also Rl.re.r." Wagner-Martin Donaldson, Scott. "Hurnor in The Sun Also Riscs." Wagner-Martin Ef iot, T. S. "Gerontion." The Conplcre Poems und Plat's, New Yrrk: Harcourt, t952. 2t-3. Fitzgcrald, F Scott. Thc Great Gatsby New York: Scribner's Library-Scribner's, Fuchs, Danief. "Ernest Hemingway. Literary Critic." Ernest Hcmingxtn': A Colltction oj'crititism. Ed. Arthur Waldhorn. New York: McGraw, lll. Haf liday, E. M. "Hemingway's Ambiguity: Synlbolism and lrony." Ernest Herningu'tn; A Colle<titn ofcritit'ism. Ed. Arthur Waldhorn. New Vrrk: McGraw,
15 "Primitive Emotions" 55 Henringway, Ernest.,4cros.r the River and Into the Trees. New York: Scribner's, Dateline: Tbronto: The Complete Toronto Star Dispatches, Ed. William White. New York: Scribner's Death in the Afernoon. New York: Scribner's, A Farewell to Arms New York: Scribner's Librarv-Scribner's Green Hills of Africa. New York: Scribner's The Nick,&lams Stories. Preface: Philip Young. New York: Book Club-Scribner's, t972. Seletted lztters. Ed. Carlos Baker. New York: Scribner's The Sun Also Rises New York: Scribner's Library-Scribner's, Lockridge, Ernest. "F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tntmpe I'Oeil and The Great Gatsbl'1r Buried Plot." The Journal rf Narrative Technique 17 (1987): Lynn, Kenneth. Hemingwuy. New York: Simon, Merrill, Robert. 'Jake Barnes as Tragic Hero." Narrative Literature: An International Conl'erence. Ypsilanti, 3 April Meyers, Jeffrey. Hemingwuy: A Biographv. New York: Percnnial Library-Harper, Reynolds, Michael S. "The San in lts Time: Recovering the Historical Context." Wagner- Martin Rovit, Earl. Ernest Hemingru,u New York: Twayne, Shakespeare. William. Othello. Shakespeurc: The Contplete ll(trks. Ed. G. B. Harrison. Ncw York: Harcourt Spilka, Mark. "The Death of Love in The Sun 1Lro Ri.sc.r. " Heningwat. A Collection of Critical Ersalr. Ed. Robert P. Weeks. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, Trilling, Lioncl. "Hemingway and His Critics." Hemingwot'arul His Crirics. Ed. Carlos Baker. Ncw York: Hill, t0. Waldhorn, Arthur. I Rtuder's Guide to Ernt.st HemingN'rr,ll New York: n-oonday-farrar, t912. Wagner-Martin. Linda. cd. Ncw'f.rsa_l'.r orr The Sun Also Rises. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambritlge UP. 198?. Wyatt, David. Pnxligul Sons: A Srudv in Authorship and Autfurirt'. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins up
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