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In Our Time | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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In Our Time | Chapter 9 | Summary



Three matadors in succession fight in a bullfight in Spain. The first two are gored by the bulls. The second matador walks around after being gored, acting crazy or drunk until he faints. The narrator calls the third matador "the kid." The kid has to fight five bulls because the other two matadors killed none, and the last bull causes the kid a lot of difficulty: "He was so tired he couldn't get the sword in." He tries five times before a hushed crowd. He finally succeeds and then vomits in the sand, perhaps from exhaustion, while the crowd cheers.


Beginning with "The Revolutionist," the stories and vignettes are set after the war. The men in the stories are still tested in proximity to death. The bullfight is clearly a risk of death; the second matador receives a fatal or near-fatal wound. All the triumph is felt by the crowd, though, not the matador. At the end, the kid has collapsed on the sand, vomiting, and he is hidden by a cape. The crowd feels exultant, roaring and throwing things.

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