Study Guide

The Sun Also Rises Book 2, Chapter 18

By Ernest Hemingway

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.