An idea that gives form to much of Hemingway’s fiction is the notion of “grace under pressure,” a code by which individuals might bring honor upon themselves. Simply put, this code requires that, no matter what the circumstances, a person must not break. The grace referred to is a physical, aesthetic, moral, and spiritual matter; the circumstances to be withstood include the complexity of moral choice, the chaos of violence, and, above all, the presence of death that gnaws at every human being. The primary incarnation of death in The Sun Also Rises is the bullfight; exemplary behavior-rooted in courage, honor, and passion-is demonstrated by the matadors. In the ritual of the fight, the bull and the matador face uncertainty with equal dignity, and death with equal courage.
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The Sun Also Rises is a book replete with contrasts.