The Sun Also Rises | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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The Sun Also Rises | Book 1, Chapter 3 | Summary



On a warm, spring night Jake meets a prostitute named Georgette and invites her for drinks and dinner. He finds her pretty despite her terrible teeth, and he decides to take her dancing. She acts affectionately toward Jake, but he brushes her off: "What's the matter? You sick?" she asks him. Jake admits to having been hurt in the war. A gang of Jake's friends, including Cohn and his fiancée, Frances, interrupts the conversation. Jake jokingly introduces Georgette as his fiancée, which confuses Mrs. Braddocks, the wife of one of Jake's closest friends.

On the dance floor Georgette receives a lot of male attention, but it doesn't really bother Jake. He abandons her as soon as he sees a beautiful woman named Brett, whom he knew during the war. He joins a man named Robert Prentiss at the bar and is visibly agitated. Even Cohn takes notice, saying, "You seem all worked up over something?" Brett joins them at the bar and makes small talk. The whole time Jake lusts over her beauty. Abruptly he asks Brett to "get out of here" with him, paying Georgette and then leaving her with a gaggle of men vying for her attention on the dance floor. As soon as they are in a taxi Brett laments, "Oh, darling. I've been so miserable."


This chapter highlights the superficiality of Jake and his friends' lives. Although Jake claims to be close with his friends, they seem confused when Jake introduces Georgette as his fiancée. Their further conversations, which discuss Paris's cleanliness and different travel possibilities, highlight the superficiality of their friendships. The group functions as a distraction; they meet, chat, dance, and—above all—drink without ever learning about each other. Jake's "close" friends aren't even sure whether he really has a fiancée. Even Jake and Georgette's discussion about Jake's injury remains entirely superficial. They call the war "that dirty war," and then say very little else. Brett's admittance at the end of the chapter highlights her special, emotionally honest relationship with Jake.

Superficiality is key to understanding the lost generation, for whom life, and therefore meaningful conversation, has no value. Value is found in tangible pleasures—food, drink, sex, and money. Relationships, such as Jake's relationship with Georgette, are measured through money. He feels no emotion toward her—he doesn't even care when other men whisk her away—but he dutifully pays for her time before leaving with Brett. Although Jake told Cohn there is no running away from one's problems, all of the novel's characters travel from place to place, refusing to set down roots, searching for the next thrill. Yet this lifestyle leaves them "miserable."

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