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“Modernism and Eugenics” and “The Sun Always Rises” Essay


Comparison

One of the more interesting comparative traits between the article “Modernism and Eugenics” and that of the book “The Sun Always Rises” is in the portrayal of discrimination based on societal belief and specific traits rather than any actual adverse attribute about an individual (i.e. being an adulterer, womanizer, murderer, criminal etc.).

This was seen in case of the character Robert Cohn who was discriminated against by other members of the group on the basis of him being a Jew (Neilson, 1-4). As seen within the novel, there are numerous anti-Semite remarks made by Mike and Jake on numerous occasions with Cohn often being marked as “different” due to his religion, social practices and beliefs.

From a certain perspective, it can be stated that by being “different” Cohn within the novel was immediately marked as object of vilification and, as a result, in shunned and considered unattractive (Neilson, 1-4). On way of explaining such an attitude can be seen within the article “Modernism and Eugenics” wherein the concept of difference is often utilized as the basis behind discrimination.

Based on the article, it can be seen that eugenics is not only an argument for the development of a healthier and more psychologically sound society, rather, it is also a means by which a certain degree of uniformity is put into place. This means that instead of a diverse population within a society, what is advocated for is instead only one type of population that is deemed as the most “ideal” in terms of health and psychological soundness while at the same time possessing features that are considered appealing and attractive.

Such a perspective thus creates the notion of “superior and inferior stock” based on the racial origins of a particular individual, yet it must be questioned as to how did the early Eugenicists actually come up with such a level of distinction when essentially all people are biologically the same?

A true argument for eugenics would not discriminate against race, religion or culture but would instead focus primarily on removing attributes which were deemed as “detrimental” to the health and wellness of future generations. Instead, it can clearly be seen within the article that the article take on a particularly racist perspective wherein Eugenicists promote the continuation of “superior” races while those belonging to “inferior” classes should practice abstinence and die out.

The origins behind this particular viewpoint can be seen within the novel wherein the treat of Cohn is based on the concept of Mike, Jake and Campbell wherein they view Cohn as the “the other”, meaning that their derogative comments are based on their view of Cohen as an individual that they do not consider part of their “group” (Neilson, 1-4). One way of explaining such an attitude towards Cohen is through the concept of humanocentric speciesism.

Based on the work of O’Sullivan (2012), humanocentric speciesism can be considered a pervasive yet subconscious attitude among many societies wherein they view their own culture, group, and race as being superior to that of other groups (O’Sullivan, 32). While not outright stated, it is evidenced in both the article “Modernism and Eugenics” and the book “The Sun Always Rises” that humanocentric speciesism plays a role in not only the discrimination against Cohn but also in the way in which eugenics in justified.

What must be understood is that both the article and the book deal with the concept of biased perceptions when it comes to the treatment of others wherein those who are part of a racially “acceptable” stock are treated with respect and dignity while all others are treated with disdain and disgust. Thus, when looking at both the book and the article it can be seen that some aspects of their individual facets mirror each other when viewed under the lens of humanocentric speciesism.

Contrast

When it comes to contrasting elements within the book and the article, one of the most obvious is the difference in opinion involving women and sexuality and the necessity of procreation as the foundation of a relationship. Within the article, radical sexual behavior among women is actually frowned upon and thought of as a characteristic that should be removed from society.

The novel however paints a slightly different story wherein the character of Jake falls in love with Lady Brett Ashley as a direct result of her attitude and general sensuality that creates a significant degree of attraction (Adair, 114-118). Brett actually represents a form of sexual freedom among women during the 1920s wherein women found themselves enjoying romances, divorces and various trysts that used to be exclusive domains of the men (Adair, 114-118).

The article “Modernism and Eugenics” on the other hand espouses a completely different view when it comes to such aspects wherein women are expected to accord themselves with a certain prim and properness and only enter into relations with individuals that are of the right “genetic stock” Brett seemingly sleeps with and attracts a wide assortment of men heedless of repercussions and, as such, shows a distinct contrast from the ideas shown within the article.

It should also be noted that another of the contrasting aspects between the article and the novel is the view that love and sexual relationships can occur without the concept of procreation being included in the picture.

What you have to understand is that the article implies that in order for a man and a woman to enter into a long term sexual relationship procreation should be a factor in that they should be able to produce children in line with the eugenic policies that are being advocated by its proponents.

In the case of Brett and Jake, there is no prospect for the creation of children since Jake is impotent yet they still enter into a sexual relationship anyway based on what is perceived as emotion and lust.

This is actually one of the main contrasts between the article and the novel since relationships within the article are apparently fueled through an unemotional scientific perspective while in the novel relationships occur on a spur of the moment and are often entered into not through their need to procreate but rather their impression that they want to simply be together.

Conclusion

Overall, it can be seen that the similar elements within the novel and the article deal mostly with racism and humanocentric speciesism wherein it was shown that by the mere reason a particular group is considered “different, they are immediately excluded and thought of as vile. On the other end of the spectrum are the contrasts between the novel and the article wherein relationships are viewed not under the lens of procreation but more along the lines of lust and emotion.

Works Cited

Adair, William. “Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises: The Novel As Gossip.” Hemingway Review 31.2 (2012): 114-118. Literary Reference Center. Web.

Neilson, Keith. “The Sun Also Rises.” Masterplots, Fourth Edition (2010): 1-4. Literary Reference Center. Web.

O’Sullivan, John. “Racism, Racism Everywhere!.” National Review 64.18 (2012): 32. MasterFILE Premier. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2019, April 11). "Modernism and Eugenics" and "The Sun Always Rises". Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/modernism-and-eugenics-and-the-sun-always-rises/

Work Cited

"Modernism and Eugenics" and "The Sun Always Rises." IvyPanda, 11 Apr. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/modernism-and-eugenics-and-the-sun-always-rises/.

1. IvyPanda. "Modernism and Eugenics" and "The Sun Always Rises." April 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/modernism-and-eugenics-and-the-sun-always-rises/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Modernism and Eugenics" and "The Sun Always Rises." April 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/modernism-and-eugenics-and-the-sun-always-rises/.

References

IvyPanda. 2019. "Modernism and Eugenics" and "The Sun Always Rises." April 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/modernism-and-eugenics-and-the-sun-always-rises/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) '"Modernism and Eugenics" and "The Sun Always Rises"'. 11 April.

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