Philosophy and Fitness: Hemingway’s "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" and The Sun Also Rises
Darwinian literary investigation of the power of reproductive goals to shape behaviors and philosophical worldviews. Examines the major characters’ motivations and resources for passing on their genes, arguing that the metaphysical cynicism expressed in both works corresponds to the physical reproductive failures of the older waiter, Jake, and Brett. Saunders connects the social, moral, and spiritual barrenness of the novel’s postwar setting to Jake’s loss of biological continuity and explores his complicated relationship with a religion that fails to provide useful direction. Concludes that the inability to reproduce renders all human endeavors pointless in both narratives.
American Classics: Evolutionary Perspectives