The Sun Also Rises
How we cite our quotes:
"Couldn’t we live together, Brett? Couldn’t we just live together?"
"I don’t think so. I’d just tromper you with everybody. You couldn’t stand it." (7. 7)
Jake attempts to find some kind of unconventional solution to their no sex problem, but Brett knows herself too well to accept it. Her statement that she’d just tromper (cheat on) Jake with everyone is true, and both of them know it.
"He calls her Circe," Mike said. "He claims she turns men into swine." (13.52)
Cohn’s association of Brett with Circe, a seductive enchantress of Greek mythology, is fairly accurate – she reduces the men who love her to a kind of animal-like state of worship and abjection.
Women made such swell friends. Awfully swell. In the first place, you had to be in love with a woman to have a basis of friendship. I had been having Brett for a friend. I had not been thinking about her side of it. I had been getting something for nothing. That only delayed the presentation of the bill. The bill always came. That was one of the swell things you could count on.
I thought I had paid for everything. Not like the woman pays and pays and pays. No idea of retribution or punishment. Just exchange of values. (14. 4)
Love and friendship here are depicted as "exchange of values," reflecting Jake’s cynical view of relationships between men and women. The "bill" that always comes is steep – in transactions like this, someone always ends up paying with unhappiness.