Study Guide

Montoya in The Sun Also Rises

By Ernest Hemingway

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The proprietor of the Hotel Montoya in Pamplona, Montoya is the ultimate aficionado. He is the Yoda to Jake’s Luke Skywalker, and he has a true fondness for his young padawan. These guys geek out hard about bull-fighting.

When Jake and his friends arrive in Pamplona, Montoya gives Jake the benefit of the doubt, and forgives him for his crummy taste in companions. Only one thing is sacred to Montoya: aficion. He has a true belief in the purity of the art of the bull-fight, and he can forgive aficionados and matadors anything if they really have passion for the fight:

Montoya could forgive anything of a bull-fighter who had aficion. He could forgive attacks of nerves, panic, bad unexplainable actions, all sorts of lapses. For one who had aficion he could forgive anything. At once he forgave me for all of my friends. Without his ever saying anything they were simply a little something shameful between us, like the spilling open of the horses in bull-fighting. (13.24)

What he can’t forgive, however, is Jake’s eventual betrayal—he witnesses Jake introducing Romero to Brett. This comes on the heels of a discussion the two of them had about the corruption of young bull-fighters; Montoya turns his back on Jake once the latter enables the corruption of Romero.

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