Escapism And Disassociation In The Sun Also Rises

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In The Sun Also Rises, written by Ernest Hemingway, we are met with many problems faced by the lost generation after WW1, including the search for fulfillment, love, and the aimlessness of the lost generation. However, readers are also met with another and more problematic conflict. Dissociation and escapism which is presented through the main protagonists Jacob Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley who display similarities with Maladaptive Daydreamers.

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Just like those who are Maladaptive Daydreamers, Jake and Brett are constantly trying to dissociate and escape from the world around them, because they can’t bear to live the life they have post-war or stand to be the people they have become, this results in them further losing their sense of self and becoming more dissatisfied.

As shown above Maladaptive daydreaming is an under researched and a unrecognized mental disorder. In a article written by Eli Somer, he describes it as a extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and/or interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning (1). The symptoms include highly vivid daydreams that are abnormally long, a strong attachment to such daydreams, inability to carry out everyday tasks, insomnia, and daydreams triggered by real life events or stimuli. Those who maladaptive daydream tend to have some other underlying mental disorders alongside it, for example, within the article it is mentioned that six patients who were identified to be maladaptive daydreamers, four were diagnosed with dissociative disorder, and two were diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. However, if they don’t have a mental health issue, they have some sort of traumatic experience that has happened to them instead. According to the article Maladaptive Daydreaming: A Qualitative Inquiry, written by Eli Somer, people who maladaptive daydream, often do so to cope with what is going on in their lives or an traumatic experience, but also as a way to express themselves. Through their daydreams they are able to disengage from stress and pain, have fulfilling fantasies, and companionship. In their dreams there is recurring themes such as violence, power, control, and an idealized-self (1). Many people view this disorder as an quirky trait, but it’s much more than that, some think of it as a addiction, not being able to stop it, others view it as a much deeper issue. The issue of you not wanting to be you. Which therefore leads to them daydreaming a different world in which they are someone they want to be and are able to escape who they are in reality.

Just like the maladaptive daydreamers both Jake and Brett had gone through a traumatic experience themselves, which leads to both of them trying to disengage from themselves in order to forget and not feel the pain caused from those experiences. Jake’s traumatic experience is being wounded while fighting in WW1,

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