Unconditional Love in The Sun Also Rises.
In the novel The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway describes a set of friends who share a very strange and distant kind of love for each other. The setting takes place immediately after World War I, a time of great hardship. This hardship results in a digression of values both morally and socially. The love that Brett and Jake share is symbolic of the general decline in values, in that they tolerate behaviours in one another that would have been previously considered unacceptable. .
It is clear that Lady Brett Ashley is anything but a lady. She is kind and sweet but extremely vulnerable to the charm that various men in her life seem to overwhelm her with. Brett is not happy with her life or her surroundings and seeks escape and refuge in the arms of these men. But her actions seem always to end up hurting her, and she inevitably always runs back to Jake. Jake knows that he will never be able to have her for his own, and he accepts this as a fact. This is clear when the Count asks them "why don't you get married, you two? (68)" To this question, they give a lame half hearted answer which implies that it will never happen. Jake is particularly tolerant of her behaviour because he loves her unconditionally and is willing to overlook almost everything and everyone she "does". Jake's willingness to endure and forgive Brett's promiscuity and infidelity is an indication of the distorted values of the age. It was an "anything goes" era right after World War I, and Jake's message to Brett seems to be the same: anything goes as long as you eventually come back to me. .
Jake is forced to accept living in this seemingly terrible way for more than one reason. He a weak person socially, but he is also physically disabled because of an injury that he suffered during the war. Jake suffered an injury that caused him to no longer have the ability to have sex. The first hint of this is when he says to Georgette "I was hurt in the war" (24) in reference to why they cannot have physical relations.