The Sun Also Rises Summary
Jake Barnes and his expatriate friends live in the topsy-turvy, hedonistic (sensual and self-indulgent) world of post-World War I Paris. There, they occasionally work, but spend most of their time partying, drinking, and arguing. From Jake’s perspective, we meet the cast of characters that populates his story: the most important among them are Robert Cohn, a weak-willed, down-on-his-luck Princeton grad and unsuccessful writer, and Lady Brett Ashley, an exciting, beautiful, and unpredictable British divorcee.
Although Jake and Brett are actually in love, they aren’t together, presumably because a mysterious war wound has rendered Jake impotent. Cohn falls in love with Brett (as everyone does) and, despite the fact that she’s not terribly impressed with him, she secretly goes on a trip with him to the Spanish resort town of San Sebastian. Cohn is infatuated with Brett—he’s completely smitten. We’re talking truly, madly, deeply in smit.
Unfortunately for Cohn (and for everyone, for that matter), Brett is engaged to a wealthy, charming, and utterly inept drunkard named Mike. Jake’s whimsical friend Bill returns to Paris from a trip and a plan is born: everyone agrees to decamp to Spain for some fishing and the running of the bulls in Pamplona.
On their brief fishing trip, Bill and Jake have a splendid time communing with nature and with each other, but the relaxation quickly comes to an end. They return to civilization and meet up with Brett, Mike, and Cohn in Pamplona for a weeklong orgy of bullfights, alcohol, and high drama. Jake has a true passion (aficion) for bullfighting, but everyone else is simply there to have a good time.
Brett begins a scandalous affair with a passionate and talented young bull-fighter, Pedro Romero. Jake feels terrible for many reasons—among them is the fear that he has corrupted Romero in some way by introducing him to Brett. Cohn’s thwarted infatuation with Brett leads to arguments with everyone and, finally, he beats the unfortunate Romero to a bloody pulp. As the fiesta winds down, everyone leaves Pamplona in various states of anxiety, depression and frustration.
Jake heads to San Sebastian, where he intends to decompress alone for a while. Unfortunately, desperate telegrams from Brett arrive immediately. He goes to her in Madrid, where she is alone, having sent Romero away. For the first time, we see Brett truly vulnerable, afraid, and guilty. The future looks just as bleak—Jake and Brett agree again that, even though they love each other, they can’t be together.
Book 1, Chapter 1
- The narrator, Jake Barnes, opens with a description of a friend of his, Robert Cohn, whose crowning triumph was being named Princeton’s middleweight boxing champion in his college days. Impressive, right?
- Right. Jake isn’t terribly impressed, either. Though he’s fond of Cohn, he actually sees the other man as kind of a forgettable wimp. So forgettable, in fact, that Jake is stunned that Cohn’s former boxing coach even remembers him.
- Cohn is Jewish, a fact that Jake finds central to his character development. He is innately self-conscious, married young, had an unhappy marriage, and was left by his wife (who he was feebly attempting to leave anyway).
- After his divorce, Cohn moved to California, where he briefly edited a magazine. But, he was too poor to fund the publication and it died—the magazine that is. Cohn’s literary ambitions live on.
- Cohn now lives in Paris with a forceful divorcée named Frances. Jake is his tennis friend, as compared to Braddocks, who is Cohn’s literary friend (an interesting distinction, considering that Jake is also a writer—the difference is that he’s a journalist).
- Cohn is a published novelist, but his writing isn’t highly regarded by Jake or anyone else. Frances, Cohn’s mistress, is a total control freak. In the midst of coffee with Cohn and Frances, Jake’s mere suggestion of traveling with Cohn to visit an American woman earns him a swift "shut-up!" kick from Cohn. Clearly, any mention of other women is strictly off-limits in Frances’s vicinity.
- Jake is bemused by Cohn’s weakness, especially with women.
Book 1, Chapter 2
- The same winter as the shut-up-kick-under-the-table incident, Cohn travels to America and has a book published. After winning a few hands of bridge, having a few women speak to him and the whole book thing, Cohn is a changed man. Basically, he’s full of himself and not as into Frances. Women, beware! Who knows what a few successful hands of bridge could do to your love interest…
- Jake partially blames Cohn’s change of character on a novel he recently read, W.H. Hudson’s The Purple Land. Apparently it inspired Cohn to yearn for a romantic new life.
- Cohn interrupts Jake at work (we learn that Jake, like Hemingway, is a newspaper man) and begs him to come on a trip to South America. Jake says he’s not interested—after all, Paris is great.
- Cohn disagrees—he hates Paris. Notice that almost every other character in the novel at some point has at least one conversation identical to this one with another expatriate living in Paris. More witty banter between Cohn and Jake ensues. Cohn looks pitiful.
- Although it’s the middle of the workday, Cohn and Jake go for a drink. Jake thinks he’ll be able to ditch Cohn after having a drink, but he can’t.
- Jake, Cohn in tow, returns to his office at the newspaper. Cohn falls asleep, and Jake awakens him in the middle of a troubled dream. Cohn admits that he hasn’t been able to sleep lately. We wonder why…
Book 1, Chapter 3
- Jake lingers alone over a drink at the Café Napolitain after Cohn finally bails. He makes eye contact with a girl walking down the street and she joins him. They both order a Pernod (a French liqueur similar to absinthe) and flirt halfheartedly. Though nothing’s said, it’s clear that this young lady is, to put it delicately, a woman of questionable repute.
- Jake and the girl, Georgette, take a horse-drawn cab to dinner. Georgette, assuming that Jake means to… engage her services, attempts to kiss him. He rejects her, saying that he’s sick.
- Once they’re at the restaurant, Foyot’s, Jake is annoyed by his companion and begins to regret his decision to take Georgette to dinner.
- She asks why he’s sick; he responds that he was hurt in the war.
- Fortunately, this lackluster conversation draws to a necessary halt—some of Jake’s friends, Mr. and Mrs. Braddocks, Frances, and Cohn, are at the restaurant. Georgette is introduced as Jake’s fiancée, and puts on a comically provocative and somewhat rude demeanor.
- The crowd agrees to go out dancing. They end up at a hot, unappealing-sounding dance club.
- At the club, a beautiful woman named Brett arrives with a group of homosexual men. Jake, who is obviously familiar with Brett, feels sick and irritated by her companions, and he describes them with disgust. Add "homophobic" to whatever mental image of Jake you’ve got going.
- To cope, Jake drinks more. Mrs. Braddocks introduces him to a young, pretentious American author; Jake is drunk, belligerent, and possibly about to vomit. He leaves rudely, and ends up at the bar with Cohn.
- Brett comes over for a chat with "the chaps." Cohn is spellbound. Jake describes her beauty for us, his readers—she is as sleek and curvy as a racing yacht, and has a killer fashion sense to boot.
- Jake officially ditches Georgette and leaves some money with the bartender in case she comes looking for him. He and Brett leave together to find a cab.
- Alone in the taxi, Brett confesses that she’s miserable.
Book 1, Chapter 4
- In the cab, Jake and Brett kiss passionately, but Brett pulls away. She says she loves Jake but they agree they can’t be together. Love’s too hard and they have a history with one another. Brett alludes to Jake’s mysterious war wound, which is presumably the cause of their separation; he doesn’t want to talk about it.
- Jake’s entranced by Brett’s eyes and all that typical stuff.
- They agree to go to Café Select for more drinks. Brett asks Jake to kiss her again.
- At the café, a Greek duke/artist with the improbable name of Zizi introduces Brett, whose formal title is Lady Ashley, to a man called Count Mippipopolous (bet you can’t say that ten times fast.) Brett and the count have the apparently requisite conversation about whether Paris rocks or sucks. We learn that Lady Ashley is British.
- Braddock’s gang is also at the Select. We learn that Georgette was thrown out of the restaurant rather spectacularly after Jake and Brett left.
- Jake, tired and frustrated, decides to head home. He says his goodbyes to everyone, and agrees to meet Brett the following evening.
- Jake picks up his mail and curses people with titles like Lady Ashley, Count Mippipopolous, and Zizi the Greek Duke. He reads a bull-fighting newspaper and gets in bed.
- Jake can’t sleep. He’s all worked up about WWI, the injury he sustained in the War and about Brett. We have already guessed that his injury is sexual in nature—he never says the word, but we gather that he’s impotent.
- Thinking of his troubles—mostly caused by Brett—Jake begins to cry.
- Jake wakes to the noise of a fight outside between Brett and his building’s concierge. Jake lets Brett upstairs. She’s totally wasted. Nonetheless, he pours her yet another drink. It’s after 4 a.m. They chat about the count. Lots of witty banter. After a few minutes Brett leaves and Jake, his guard down, gets a little mopey again.
Book 1, Chapter 5
- Jake has coffee and a brioche and goes to work. Despite his melancholy evening, he feels much better this morning. He works all morning, then chats pleasantly with his colleague, Krum, until Robert Cohn shows up to whisk him off to lunch.
- He and Cohn nag each other about South America over a lunch of beer and hors d’œuvre. Jake still thinks Cohn’s a pushover with Frances.
- Cohn asks Jake about Brett. He reveals that she is in the midst of a divorce with a British aristocrat (Lord Ashley to her Lady Ashley), and is already engaged to a man with great financial prospects named Mike Campbell. Cohn remarks again that he thinks Brett’s super hot. Jake responds cynically.
- We discover that Jake met Brett when she worked as a VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse) in a hospital during WWI. We wonder what the details of their history are.
- Cohn doubts Brett will marry Mike if she doesn’t love him. Not terribly surprisingly, Jake doesn’t agree. He bitterly remarks that she’s done it before. Cohn already has an unrealistically romantic and idealized view of Brett, despite the fact that he really doesn’t know her at all.
- Cohn gets agitated and Jake tells him to go to hell. They reconcile and Cohn admits rather embarrassingly that Jake is his best friend.
Book 1, Chapter 6
- Brett unsurprisingly misses her evening date with Jake. He has a few conciliatory drinks and then takes a cab through a part of Paris he despises. He wonders why he hates this particular section of the city so much, then wonders why Cohn seems to despise the whole city so much. He attributes this flaw to reading too much H.L. Mencken, a tremendously popular American writer.
- Jake heads to Café Select, where he encounters a very odd friend, Harvey Stone. Harvey, like everyone else, is a writer short on cash, and he wheedles some money out of Jake. The two men have a drink and chat about Mencken, who, they decide, is just soooo passé.
- Cohn shows up. Harvey provokes him and then leaves. Cohn states his dislike for Harvey.
- Cohn tells Jake he’s struggling to write.
- Jake, attempting to reveal more of the true Robert Cohn to us, remarks that, before falling for Brett, Cohn had been a fairly charming prep boy type, well trained by the women he’d been with. Pre-Brett, he had a kind of simple, cheerful, nice mentality, and was kind of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none type. His passion for Brett, however, changes everything.
- Frances shows up at the Café. She’s snotty to Cohn but pleasant to Jake. She asks to speak privately with Jake. She’s all worked up, thinking that Cohn’s going to leave her since he won’t agree to marry her. The whole thing is embarrassing.
- Frances repeatedly attacks Cohn. She suspects that he’s trying to dump her to enjoy his literary success solo or with a newer model. Jake doesn’t understand why everyone can be such a jerk to Cohn and why he doesn’t defend himself. Disgruntled, Jake heads back to his flat.
Book 1, Chapter 7
- Jake learns from the concierge that Brett and a man stopped by his flat and plan to return in an hour. The concierge, who thought Brett was fairly trashy after her 4 a.m. arrival the previous evening, now speaks highly of her as a woman of class.
- Jake digresses a little, and gives us a brief and hilarious description of Madame Duzinell, the concierge, who seems to think it’s her job to decide who gets to see Jake and who doesn’t. It’s a good thing Brett won her over.
- Brett and the Count show up right as Jake jumps out of the shower. He’s struck once again with love pains and Brett sends the count off for champagne while she comforts Jake. Again, they discuss their love for one another, but agree they can’t be together. Brett admits that he’s her true love, but if they were together, she’d cheat on him all over the place. She tells him she’s leaving Paris for San Sebastian, a resort town in Spain.
- The count returns with champagne. The champagne is really good. They drink (three bottles' worth) and smoke cigarettes while the count luxuriantly puffs on a cigar. The count, who is something of an odd duck (but a nice one), tells Brett that she’s got class written all over her, even if she’ll lose her title with her divorce. The usual snappy banter ensues.
- They go for dinner and drink some expensive brandy, then head up to Montmartre to dance. Brett and Jake dance while the count watches.
- Brett and Jake discuss her relationship with Mike—even though they’re engaged, she never thinks of him. Brett has a sudden mood swing, and doesn’t want to stay at the club. Jake has major déjà vu —he has the feeling that he and Brett are going to go through something they’ve already been through. The pair take their leave of the count, and Jake drops Brett off before heading home.
Book 2, Chapter 8
- Frances is away and Cohn is out of the country for a few weeks. Jake is happy to have gotten rid of them for a while. Jake plans a trip to Spain with a friend named Bill Gorton at the end of June. Bill arrives and recounts a trip he’s just taken to Vienna and Prague. It seems he was too trashed for most of the trip to remember much except one prizefight. Is anyone surprised?
- Bill and Jake have a drink at a café and chat casually about taxidermy. This is certainly the only mention of stuffed dogs that we can think of in any great work of literature.
- Brett jumps out of a cab, newly returned from her trip. Bill-Brett introductions are made, and they go for a drink.
- Brett leaves to go bathe (which strikes us as kind of like the good ol’ "Um… I have to wash my hair" trick, but hey, who are we to judge?).
- Jake and Bill go to eat at a little restaurant Jake knows. Hemingway reinforces the fact that Jake, unlike the majority of his fellow American expats, knows Paris like the back of his hand.
- The two friends consume a yummy-sounding meal of roast chicken, green beans, potatoes, a salad, some apple pie, cheese, and coffee.
- Jake suggests they have a drink but for the first time ever they decide not to have one. We are shocked.
- Bill and Jake meet up with Mike and Brett (who’s now supposedly quite clean and is not wearing stockings… more scandal) in one of their regular cafés. Mike turns out to be kind of nutty and extremely drunk; he’s taken home by Brett. Jake and Bill go to watch a fight.
Book 2, Chapter 9
- Jake receives word from Cohn that he’s in Spain. Bill and Jake agree to meet Cohn in Bayonne, Spain and travel together to Pamplona. Brett and Mike decide to join the trip to Pamplona. The men want to fish, but Brett wants to party.
- Brett has Jake walk her back to her hotel to bathe again.
- Brett reveals to Jake that she’s been in San Sebastian not with Mike but with Cohn. Sex is implied, but Brett says she finds Cohn dull. Ouch. Brett is worried Cohn will freak out if he comes on the trip, since Brett will be with Mike. Cohn insists on coming, anyway. Jake is sort of disgusted by the whole thing.
- Jake and Bill head for Spain by train. They try to bribe the dining car conductor to seat them for lunch but he refuses—apparently, the train is packed with an American Catholic tour group on a pilgrimage to Rome.
- Bill and Jake make small talk with an American family to pass the time.
- Since they can’t have lunch, they drink epic amounts of wine. Bill is still mad and badmouths a Catholic priest, demanding to know when the Protestants will be allowed to eat. Not very PC.
- They arrive at the station and meet Cohn, who’s a little shy around Bill. Apparently, Cohn has read all of Bill’s books (everyone and their mom is a writer in this book).
Book 2, Chapter 10
- Bill, Jake, and Cohn have breakfast and, around about mid-morning, start drinking. They rent a car to leave Bayonne for the river to fish. It’s hot out and the landscape is beautiful and distinctly Spanish.
- We discover that Jake is the only one of the three who can semi-competently speak Spanish.
- They stop in a small town, find a hotel, and have a lunch of hors d’oeuvres, an egg course, two meat courses, vegetables, salad, desert, and fruit. Oh, and lots of wine which is justified as necessary to digesting the rest.
- Cohn is acting super awkward because he doesn’t know if Jake and Bill know that he was in San Sebastian with Brett. Cohn’s Spanish is particularly atrocious.
- Jake, Bill, and Cohn go off separately for a while. Jake prays (sort of, at least) in the Catholic Church in the square. Mostly he thinks about bull-fights.
- During dinner, Cohn and Jake leave to check if Brett and Mike have arrived at the train station. Cohn is nervous. Jake, in a particularly nasty mood, lets him suffer, then accuses Cohn of bringing out the worst in everyone. Mike and Brett don’t show up on the train. Jake receives a telegram saying that they have decided to spend the night in San Sebastian. He pulls a catty middle-school maneuver and doesn’t show Cohn the telegram.
- Jake’s jealousy has transformed his feelings for Cohn—while he showed fondness for Cohn (albeit condescendingly) in earlier chapters, now he admits that he hates the other guy. Clearly Brett is the cause.
- Jake buys bus tickets to Burguete, where they plan to fish. Cohn bails, claiming that he should go meet Brett and Mike in San Sebastian. Bill and Jake are both fed up with him, and the nasty strain of antisemitism that’s been lurking in the background of the novel all along emerges.
Book 2, Chapter 11
- Bill and Jake stock up with loads of wine and get on the bus. The bus is full of Basque peasants going into the hills. Before the bus even leaves, everyone inside is drinking out of large wine skins and bottles. Everyone has a blast.
- They arrive at an inn Burguete. The room is nice but pricey. When they learn that wine is included in the rate, though, they aren’t as concerned. Another delicious-sounding meal is had, and they head off to bed.
Book 2, Chapter 12
- Jake wakes up early and goes digging for worms. We’re trying really hard not to make a lame early-bird-catches-the-worm joke. Oops—there it went.
- Jake and Bill eat breakfast and joke wittily about irony and pity. Lesbians, Abraham Lincoln, Robert Cohn, caffeine, and sex obsessions are all discussed… you know, the usual. Both of them are having a fine time, and they’re clearly on the same wavelength.
- Next, the friends hike up to the Irati River to fish for trout. When they get there they chill some wine in the river and go off to fish in different areas.
- Over a picnic lunch of eggs, chicken, and cold, cold white wine, they compare their catches and extemporize on the classic chicken vs. egg debate. Bill and Jake are both in top form—fishing is great! Picnics are great! Nature is great!
- After the wine runs out, a pensive mood takes over briefly. Jake admits that he was in love with Brett on and off for a long time.
- They spend five days fishing, drinking and playing cards with a jolly Englishman named Harris. It’s paradise.
Book 2, Chapter 13
- Jake receives a note from Mike saying that they were delayed in San Sebastian because Brett was feeling ill. They plan to rejoin Jake and Bill in Pamplona. Cohn also wires a snottily short message in Spanish (having apparently learned a very impressive two words) saying he’s coming, too.
- Jake and Bill plan to leave the same night, so they head out and have four bottles worth of celebratory wine with Harris. The men leave Harris somewhat sentimentally.
- They arrive at the Montoya Hotel in Pamplona. There is going to be a massive party and they are enthusiastic (because the level of debauchery has clearly been completely insufficient up until this point). Mike and Brett have arrived. Jake is passionately excited for the bull-fights, as are the owner (Montoya) and the other patrons of the hotel.
- We’re introduced to the concept of aficion—passion. Jake is a real aficionado, which means that he has a true understanding and love for bull-fighting. He and Montoya are on a level that the others don’t even come close to comprehending.
- Jake and Bill find Mike, Brett and Cohn at a café. Brett, Jake and Cohn walk down to the corrals to check out the bulls, which is apparently the cool thing to do.
- The bulls are unsurprisingly strong and dangerous. As they are let out into the corral from their cages they gore various steers in the corral. Brett watches intently. Jake’s worried she’s going to get grossed out, but she keeps her cool. Furthermore, she seems to share some of the innate understanding of the bulls and perhaps a hint of the aficion that fills Jake and Montoya. Cohn, if anyone, is the wimp.
- They head up to the café and meet Mike and Bill. Mike compares Cohn to a steer, accusing him of following Brett around all day and being a jerk (which, while undeniably mean, everyone agrees is accurate). Mike is drunk and Cohn is really angry. Bill takes Cohn away and Jake listens to Mike and Brett talk about Brett’s sex life. He’s disgusted.
- Jake finds dinner that night with the gang more pleasant, perhaps because Brett looks particularly beautiful. This seems to make Cohn feel better, too.
Book 2, Chapter 14
- Jake can’t sleep because he’s thinking about Brett. Again, he tells us that things are much harder to deal with at night than in the logical light of day. He damns Brett, and women in general, and decides, in short, that in life there is no free lunch. Everything comes with a price.
- He mulls over the meaning of life more broadly and decides, since he’s utterly wasted, that he’s being absurd.
- Everyone’s hanging out in preparation for the gargantuan party that is about to start. We get the feeling that this is the calm before the storm.
- Brett wants to go to hear Jake confess at the Catholic Church. Jake tells her it’s both impossible and dull, so she gets her fortune told by gypsies instead.
Book 2, Chapter 15
- It’s party time! More specifically, it’s the Fiesta of San Fermin: seven wild days of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Well, sorta—make that sexual tension, alcohol, and bullfighting. Jake observes that the streets are full of dancers, musicians, and a group of workers carrying a sign reading "Hurray for wine! Hurray for the foreigners!"
- Jake is pushed from the streets into a wine shop along with Brett and Bill. Jake runs down the street to buy a big leather wine bottle. He comes back with two, one of which can hold over a gallon. Within minutes, they’re both filled and put to good use. He finds Brett, Mike, and Bill singing loudly in Spanish, eating, and generally living it up.
- Cohn has passed out in the back of someone’s shop. Party foul! Fortunately, in a few hours he recovers.
- After dinner and some more seriously hardcore partying, Jake crashes in Cohn’s room (since he’s cleverly lost his room key). He wakes up to the sound of the bulls being released at six a.m. to run from their corrals through Pamplona and into the bull ring. Jake watches the bulls from the balcony until the rest of the gang gets home. They all crash until noon.
- The gang seat themselves for the bull-fight. Everyone tells Brett how to avoid freaking out about the gore, but the real wimp is obviously Cohn. He acts super macho and says he’s only concerned he’ll be bored, but he’s not fooling anyone. Bill seizes the opportunity to make some signature anti-Semitic remarks about Cohn.
- Montoya introduces Jake and Bill to Pedro Romero, an up-and-coming young bull-fighter. Romero’s nineteen. He’s also super hot, and everyone knows it.
- Bill and Jake go to their front row seats, and are terrifically impressed by Romero’s performance. Mike, Brett, and Cohn are sitting further from the ring, and they’re obviously keyed up, as well.
- After it’s over, they retreat to the café for absinthe and post-fight discussion.
- Brett, we learn, loved both the bull-fight and Romero… particularly Romero. She even comments on his green pants and insists on sitting closer for a better view (of the pants, and presumably the bulls, as well) during the next fight. Cohn is accused, as usual, of being a big wuss.
- During the next fight, Jake describes the technicalities of Romero’s fighting to Brett. She sees and understands what’s going on in the ring. She’s even more into Romero now.
- The next day’s bullfights are not as good, but the fiesta plows on all day and night.
Book 2, Chapter 16
- A few days later Jake chats with Montoya about Romero while he shaves before dinner. Montoya has a dilemma: he’s received a telegram inviting Romero to go and hang out with the American ambassador and his bevy of dissolute friends. He’s worried that Romero will fall in with the wrong crowd and it’ll ruin his fighting. He and Jake agree not to tell Romero about the invitation.
- Jake heads to the café to meet his friends, but they’re well ahead of him with their drinking and he feels sober and awkward. There, he runs into Romero who introduces him to a Spanish bull-fighting critic, and the three get into a deep aficionados-only discussion of the art of the bull-fight. Brett hassles Jake for an introduction, and he reluctantly gives in.
- Jake plays translator and frequently edits the drunken commentary of his friends for Romero and the critic. Romero and Brett flirt over drinks.
- Montoya comes in, sees what’s happening, and leaves without a word—he clearly feels betrayed by Jake, especially after their earlier discussion about Romero.
- After Romero and the critic leave, drunken Mike takes another jab at Cohn. Cohn perversely enjoys the heroism of the situation—to him, there’s something romantic about this drama over his affair with Brett. Everyone else is a little sickened. Jake thinks fast and grabs Cohn away before a fight breaks out.
- Soon they reunite and meet up with a woman Bill met in Biarritz. Mike wants to go watch the English tourists (being Scottish, he professes to hate the English).
- Bill, his lady friend, and Mike go off to "festa the English," whatever that means. Brett tells Cohn to leave and then complains about him to Jake. Jake tries to act all noble and suave and say the right thing. As they leave the bar for a walk, Cohn is loitering outside. Suspicion confirmed: total stalker.
- Brett asks Jake if he still loves her. He says yes. In the very next words that come out of her mouth she tells to Jake that she’s in love with Romero. Bad timing. She asks for his help in finding Romero.
- They locate Romero sitting at a café with a table of other bullfighters. Jake watches Brett and Romero flirt. They’re going to hook up, and everyone knows it. Jake leaves briefly, and when he returns, his companions have deserted him. The bullfighters at the other table regard him menacingly as he leaves alone.
Book 2, Chapter 17
- Having been dumped by Brett, Jake meets up with Mike, Bill, and Bill’s friend from the last chapter, Edna. They were kicked out of a pub by the police after fighting with some British patrons. The English, previously the pinnacle of hilarity, are now loudly denounced as scoundrels.
- A long discussion ensues regarding Bill and Mike’s relative bankruptcy. Everyone, it seems, is in debt. The general feeling is that this is outrageously funny.
- Cohn shows up at a café where Jake, Mike, Bill, and Edna are sitting and demands to know where Brett is. Jake won't tell him. In a fit of rage, Cohn denounces Jake as "a damned pimp." Mike cynically comments that Brett’s off with Romero on their "honeymoon."
- Cohn knocks Jake and Mike out cold. It’s payback time!
- Jake makes it back to the hotel in a daze. Cohn’s boxing, it appears, finally paid off.
- Cohn feels guilty, cries and asks for forgiveness. All Jake can think about is taking a bath. Cohn announces he’s leaving in the morning. Jake couldn’t care less, but forgives him because it’s too much trouble not to. Then Jake goes to bed.
- In the morning he wakes late and makes it just in time to see the running of the bulls. A man is badly gored and dies. Jake has a coffee and the waiter expresses disgust that people are being killed for kicks.
- Jake’s jaw hurts. He denounces Cohn for believing that his love for Brett will conquer all despite the obvious reality that she couldn’t care less about him.
- Jake runs into Bill and Mike. He learns that the previous evening Cohn found Brett with the bullfighter, beat him up, and then asked for forgiveness and didn’t get it. He hired a car and left. Brett’s off caring for Romero. Mike and Bill head to bed.
Book 2, Chapter 18
- It’s noon on the last day of the fiesta.
- The gang is enjoying shrimp and beer at a café when Brett shows up and reports on Romero’s condition. Mike has a fit of somewhat childish rage and tips over the table. We can’t blame him— Brett is supposedly his fiancée, after all.
- Brett asks to speak with Jake privately. She’s quite happy with herself and asks Jake to keep his eye on Mike. She disappears into Romero’s room.
- Mike crashes. Bill and Jake go to lunch, taking a jab at the hotel’s hoity-toity German waiter on their way out.
- Bill, Jake, and Brett head to the bullfight. The matadors enter the ring and Romero has his cape passed up to Brett. He looks noticeably battered from his fight with Cohn.
- Jake gives his semi-professional diagnosis on the other bullfighters in the ring, Marcial and Belmonte. Neither of them can equal Romero—Marcial is a "decadent," show-offy fighter, while Belmonte’s past greatness has faded with time. Romero, on the other hand, possesses a true talent and grace. Jake can see Romero’s love for the bulls, for the fight, and for Brett in the young matador’s movements.
- Romero successfully kills both of his bulls. He chops off the second bull’s ear and gives it to Brett as a kind of trophy. Ew.
- Bill and Jake are exhausted, but rather than sleeping, which would be far too mundane, they go for a few rounds of absinthe.
- Jake tells Bill that he feels like hell, and they agree that the week was a wonderful nightmare. Jake feels drunker than he’s ever been. He stops to talk to Mike on his way to bed and finds out that Brett has left town with Romero.
- Jake naps briefly, then goes down to eat with Bill and Mike. Now that it’s just the three of them, it feels as though a whole lot of people are missing.
Book 3, Chapter 19
- The fiesta is over.
- Jake decides to spend a week alone in San Sebastian for some serious detox. Bill plans to head back to Paris, then home to New York. Mike will be heading to San Jean de Luz. Basically, everyone’s sick of each other—that end-of-a-week-long-road-trip-crammed-with-your-screaming-little-sibling-in-the-back-seat-of-a-small-car kind of sick of each other. They agree to share a ride out of Pamplona.
- The three stop for one last drink, and roll dice to see who will pay. Mike loses, but can’t pay up—he is completely broke, so Bill and Jake cover the cost of whiskey and the car. Bill and Jake drop Mike at his new hotel, then drive to Bayonne. Bill hurries to catch his train after a quick good bye.
- Alone, Jake stays the night in Bayonne. He eats and enjoys the companionship of a nice bottle of wine and a few more drinks.
- Jake is relieved to be back in France, where things seem more familiar and less wild. He half-wishes he’d gone back to Paris with Bill, but the thought of more fiesta-ing is too much to handle.
- Despite his frustrations with Spain, Jake heads back immediately. In the morning, he leaves for San Sebastian where he intends to be alone, read, and swim. First he sleeps, and then swims, listens to music and drinks. He chats with some men in a bike race at his hotel. Everything is pleasant and restful—suspiciously pleasant and restful. We know something’s coming.
- Jake receives two telegrams from Brett asking for help. He books the next train to Madrid to meet her. He’s neither irritated nor surprised that his solo vacation has gone down the tubes.
- He arrives at Brett’s hotel in Madrid the following morning. Brett tells Jake that she’s finished with Romero; she finally realizes that he was too young (and perhaps too good) for her. Brett plans to go back to Mike. She’s an emotional wreck, and can’t stop rehashing her guilt about Romero. Jake, ever faithful, comforts her.
- Brett and Jake have lunch. Brett begs Jake not to get drunk this once—but he keeps drinking anyway. They perfunctorily decide to go for a ride to see the city and, in the cab, Brett regretfully laments the idea that the two of them could have had a good time together. Jake, uncertain and cynical, simply responds that it’s "pretty to think so."