Alcoholism plays a major role in modern American fiction; it serves as a reminder not only of a serious social problem, but also of an underlying and even more troubling malaise. Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, for example, is famous as an alcoholic novel, full of drinking and drunkenness, quarreling and remorse. Considered by Jung to be a misdirected spiritual craving, described by a member of Alcoholics Anonymous as the attempt to fill a "bottomless neediness," the abuse of alcohol serves as a powerful metaphor for the thirst of modern man that cannot be quenched with material drink: Jake and Lady Ashley and the rest drink and drink, but are never satisfied. By focusing on this metaphor, we see Hemingway's novel—and much of American fiction depicting alcoholism—as a prose companion to Eliot's The Waste Land, the modern epic poem of spiritual dryness.



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