The Sun Also Rises
Man and the Natural World Quotes Page 2
How we cite our quotes:
As soon as I baited up and dropped in again I hooked another and brought him in the same way. In a little while I had six. They were all about the same size. I laid them out, side by side, all their heads pointing the same way, and looked at them. They were beautifully colored and firm and hard from the cold water. It was a hot day so I slit them all and shucked out the insides, gills and all, and tossed them over across the river. I took the trout ashore, washed them in the cold, smoothly heavy water above the dam, and then picked some ferns and packed them all in the bag, three trout on a layer of ferns, then another layer of ferns, then three more trout, and then covered them with ferns. They looked nice in the ferns, and now the bag was bulky, and I put it in the shade of the tree. (12.29)
Jake is totally satisfied with the simple chore of packing up his catch – he has the same aura of focus and straightforward pleasure that we saw in his work at the newspaper office.
Bill took a long drink.
"Utilize a little, brother," he handed me the bottle. "Let us not doubt, brother. Let us not pry in to the holy mysteries of the hen-coop with simian fingers. Let us accept on faith and simply say – I want you to join with me in saying – What shall we say brother?" he pointed the drumstick at me and went on. "Let me tell you. We will say, and I for one am proud to say – and I want to say with me, on your knees, brother. Let no man be ashamed to kneel here in the great out-of-doors. Remember the woods were God’s first temples. Let us kneel and say: ‘Don’t eat that, Lady – that’s Mencken.’" (12.39)
All of this "utilizing" business is silly and fun, but there’s also an edge of something real beneath it. Out in nature, Bill and Jake have an exuberant sense of liberty and exhilaration. Bill’s mock-sermon encourages his audience to utilize the products of the earth and celebrate them, and even while he’s mocking organized religion, he’s setting up the idea that we should worship nature instead of any manmade gods.
We stayed five days at Burguete and had good fishing. The nights were cold and the days were hot, and there was always a breeze even in the heat of the day. It was hot enough so that it felt good to wade in a cold stream, and then the sun dried you when you came out and sat on the bank. We found a stream with a pool deep enough to swim in. In the evenings we played three-handed bridge with a man named Harris, who has walked over from Saint Jean Pied de Port and was stopping at the inn for the fishing. He was pleasant and went with us twice to the Irati River. There was no word from Robert Cohn nor from Brett and Mike. (12.48)
This is an idyllic break from everything that stresses Jake out; he’s in the country, living the simple life with pleasant companions. The lack of correspondence from Cohn or Mike is the icing on the cake.