In the novel The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, a reader is forced to decide weather the spite that the Jake has for Chon originates from Jake¹s racist background, or his deeply seeded jealousy of Chon for having a brief affair with Brett. Even though it is clear that Jake has racist views, the hatred he has for his former friend Chon Chon is strictly based on the jealousy he feels towards Chon for the weekend he spent with Brett.
Jake goes in to great detail about Chon¹s early life. He speaks highly and admiringly of Chon, but in a condescending way. A reader get her first hint on page one that Jake has some racist feelings toward Chon. He speaks of how Chon’s nose was flattened in a boxing match and concluded the sentence with ³…and it certainly improved his nose² (11). This can be taken as a reference to the stereotypical ³Jew² nose that is often associated with Jewish people. Jake and Chon are close friends, and Jake likes him up to the point where he becomes involved with Brett. Jake goes on and on about all of the relationship mistakes in Chon¹s life. There is an hint of jealousy that appears in Jake’s tone. He states that women began to become attracted to Chon as he got older, and that it ³changed him so that he was not so pleasant to have around² (16). There is racism in Jake¹s tone, but Jake¹s problem with Chon is is strictly one of jealousy.
By this time Jake has already developed an extreme distaste for Chon¹s endeavors with women, but these feelings their peak when Chon and Lady Brett have a brief affair. Jake, having unconditional love for Brett, blames the entire incident on Chon. In turn, Chon makes as point to rub it in Jake¹s face. Jake says ³…it was giving him pleasure to be able to talk with the understanding that I knew there was something between them² (106). Jake has a great deal of trouble dealing with this. It has nothing to do with the fact that Chon is Jewish, Jake is merely jealous of him. It would not be manly for Jake to openly admit his jealousy, and blame the jealousy on his harsh feelings toward Chon. As a result Jake falls back on the fact that Chon is Jewish, and uses that as an excuse for his anger.
One of the reasons that Jake was so hurt by Chon¹s affair with Brett was that Jake knows that Brett will always love him, and has no feelings for Chon other than a temporary lust. Chon is unable to accept the fact that Brett does not care at all for him, and he makes it very difficult to for people to enjoy his company. Bill says²he makes me sick and he can go to hell,and I am damn glad he is staying here…²(108). These is not a racial based opinion, Chon just has an unpleasant personality. Everyone in the group agrees that Chon¹s presence is not enjoyable, but nobody feels it the way Jake does. In this story Jake allows the woman that he to loves run his life and occupy his thoughts. Jake is a bitter person, and he is living in a time of unhappiness and depression that resulted from the war. The hate he feels for his former friend Chon Chon is not one of racism; before the incident with Brett they were close friends. This is just another case of a woman coming in between two male friends. The affair might not have even affected that relationship, it is Chon’s reaction to the affair that spoils the friendship. Jake is jealous of Chon because he knows that Brett loves only him.