Brett Ashley, the main female character, renounces responsibility of her actions regarding romance by her refusal to face the suffering she causes. Finally, a primary method these characters use to excuse their irresponsibility is by Indulging in their alcoholism. This group of people believes that there Is nothing they can do to change their current state of discontent, thus ultimately renouncing their responsibility to themselves. Jake Barney’s Irresponsibility manifests In his relationship with others, be It friends or acquaintances.
Early in the novel Jake introduces Robert Cohn as his reined. However, he does not take this responsibility of a friend very seriously. When Jake, Cohn and Francis are in a cafe, Jake does not acknowledge the relationship between Francis and Cohn, and proceeds to talk about a trip with Cohn to Strasbourg with a guide girl who is just “swell” (14). That Jake needs Cohn to explain why the subject is touchy around Francis demonstrates the lack of care Jake has towards Cohn. A friend would understand Conn’s situation and avoid topics that could cause inconvenience to him.
This uncaring attitude is further portrayed when it is shown hat It Is Sake’s plan to get rid of Cohn by offering him a drink as a “graceful exit” (19) when he needs to clear his head after the drink. Even more telling than the last two events Is the fact that when Cohn and Francis are having a row about Cohn not marrying her, Jake Just sits there and watches. When Francis Is verbally abusing Cohn, Jake does not “even feel an impulse to try and stop it” (56), he doesn’t care that his friend is being attacked nor does it bother him.
Sake’s only response to the fiasco between Francis and Cohn was that “there is nothing [he] can do” (55). This cold attitude is evident throughout the novel and reveals that Jake is indeed an irresponsible friend. Moreover, Sake’s interactions with acquaintances such as Aggregate and Mrs.. Bradford further reinforce this characteristic Irresponsibility. When Jack encounters Aggregate Hobble, they are Invited to dance with Mrs.. Breadboard’s group. He Introduces Aggregate as his fiance and as Aggregate Labeled, a famous singer, poking fun at both Mrs..
Bravado’s and Aggregate. With this Introduction he makes fun of both Mrs.. Breadboard’s naiveté, and Surrogate’s lack of importance. The introduction expansible person would not have lied about another person without a warning. This action displays a high level of carelessness and irresponsibility. Although Jake is a sensitive person; he often treats others as inconsequential objects. This is why he often acts so irresponsibly. Beret’s romantic interactions between different men reveal another sense of irresponsibility written in the novel.
Brett is a beautiful classy woman and is the center of the conflict in this story. She is the primary cause of tension between the characters, but she refuses to acknowledge her part in this conflict. In the cab ride he shares with Jake, she confesses that she feels “miserable” (32) and that she is going through “hell” (34), but her actions show no remorse over what she has done. For example, she repeatedly professes that she loves Jake but oftentimes scorns him immediately after.
The repetition of such an act begs to question whether she really loves Jake or feels responsible for his pain, as every time she rejects him she hurts him. Even though her upcoming marriage with Mike seems to be the manifestation of a responsible romance, she never writes back to Mike and still approaches Roomer despite her supposed commitment. Furthermore, even though Brett is going to marry Mike, she never says that she loves him. She mentions to Jake that she “haven’t thought about him for weeks” (69) implies that she does not really care for him.
Further in the novel Brett states that she hates Conn’s “damn suffering” (186) as if she did not know she was the cause of it. It reflects that even though she causes pain for others, she hates to feel bad about it. This being the case, Jake is the perfect target for Brett because he suffers through her manipulation but never shows it to her. This allows her to cast off her part of the responsibility for his pain. Brett also states that she has “never been able to help anything” (187), suggesting that she feels that she has no control over how she manipulates the men around her.
She does not take the blame for the results of her actions, and casts off her responsibility. Near the end, Roomer gifts a severed bull’s ear to Brett. Brett then proceeds to hide it in a drawer and never sees it again. Roomer’s act of cutting off the bull’s ear is similar to the act of castration which is exactly what Brett does to the men around her. By disposing of the ears it demonstrates how little she cares for what she has done to Jake and Cohn and reveals how Brett is unwilling to take responsibility and face the gruesome results of her cruel manipulations.
The characters in this novel consume alcohol whenever the situation allows, and it is used as an excuse for much of their irresponsibility. Several characters use drunkenness to Justify their inappropriate actions. Brett comes to Sake’s house early in the morning and wakes him up for trivial matters. She also misses her appointment with Jake later in the novel because is drunk. Jake wasn’t Just the victim though, Jake is happy to be drunk at the dance party with Aggregate because it lets IM be more careless as well as more impulsive in regards to Cohn Prettiness’s Mrs..
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