Teaching Students About Brett Ashley
Brett Ashley, a central character in Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel “The Sun Also Rises,” is a timeless study of human complexity, alienation, and desire. As an educator, teaching students about Brett Ashley presents an opportunity to not only explore a literary masterpiece but also foster critical thinking and provoke stimulating discussions on gender roles, identity, and societal expectations. In this article, we will provide insights on how to effectively teach students about Brett Ashley and facilitate a deeper understanding of this fascinating character.
1. Introduce Brett Ashley within the context of “The Sun Also Rises”
Begin your lesson by providing background information about Ernest Hemingway and his novel “The Sun Also Rises.” Explain the key themes of the novel and its importance as one of the defining works of the Lost Generation. Introduce Brett Ashley as one of the main characters with whom protagonist Jake Barnes interacts throughout the story. Emphasize that understanding her character is crucial to engaging with the novel’s overarching themes.
2. Analyze Brett Ashley’s layered personality
It is important to make students aware that Brett Ashley is not merely a symbol or an archetype; she is an intricate character riddled with internal conflicts. Have students explore her varied traits – her vulnerability masked by self-assuredness, her fierce independence juxtaposed with emotional dependency, and her dissatisfaction with societal norms pushing her to become a free spirit. Encourage students to examine specific instances from the text that reveal these complexities.
3. Discuss gender roles and societal expectations
Engage your students in discussions about how prevailing gender roles during the timeframe of the novel might have shaped Brett’s choices and identity. Guide conversations on societal expectations related to femininity and masculinity in the post-World War I era and comparisons with contemporary gender norms. Utilize passages from “The Sun Also Rises” to exemplify these observations and invite students to share their opinions about the societal influences on Brett’s decisions and behavior.
4. Delve into Brett’s relationships with other characters
Explore the various relationships that Brett has with other characters in the novel, focusing primarily on her interactions with Jake Barnes, Robert Cohn, and Pedro Romero. Students should identify the unique dynamics of each relationship and discuss how they reflect her struggle for autonomy, love, and stability. Analyze her romantic liaisons with a focus on her search for meaning in a world shattered by disillusionment.
5. Encourage diverse perspectives
Finally, empower students to form their own opinions about Brett Ashley by encouraging debates and discussions in class. Allow them to consider and critique different interpretations of her character from scholarly analyses and critical commentaries. Encourage them to validate their perspectives using textual evidence from “The Sun Also Rises.”
Teaching students about Brett Ashley is an invitation to delve into the intricacies of human nature, gender, and societal expectations. Through careful study of this enigmatic literary figure, students not only learn about a pivotal work in American literature but also awaken dormant thoughts about identity, individuality, and what it means to navigate an often unforgiving society. As educators, our role is to ignite this curiosity and guide our students through a critical exploration of one of literature’s most captivating characters.