The Sun Also Rises | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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The Sun Also Rises | Book 1, Chapter 6 | Summary



Jake had plans to meet Brett later that day, but she doesn't show. Jake drives around in the taxi for a while before returning to a familiar café, where he meets up with fellow writer Harvey Stone. Harvey is already drunk and complains of not having eaten in five days. Jake offers him some money until the next check from Harvey's publisher comes through. They talk for a while until they see Cohn across the room. Harvey cannot stand Cohn, and tells him so. Cohn threatens to punch Harvey in the face, but Harvey dismisses him and leaves. Cohn complains his writing is not going well, and Jake admits to himself he would pity Cohn had he not fallen in love with Brett.

Frances arrives and asks to speak privately with Jake. She tells Jake that Cohn no longer wants to marry her and she is devastated. She feels betrayed, although she tries to appear optimistic: "I ought to have known better. And when I tell him he just cries and says he can't marry." Jake is not really sure why she tells him this, and he tries multiple times to politely end the conversation. Back at the table Frances passive aggressively berates Cohn in front of Jake, to both men's humiliation. Jake cannot comprehend why Cohn just sits there and lets Frances run him down: "Why did he sit there? Why did he keep on taking it like that?" When the conversation becomes too awkward Jake excuses himself and leaves.


Harvey Stone's inability to work characterizes the vices of the lost generation. Jake introduced his friends to Georgette as "writers and artists," yet readers almost never see the characters working. Jake has an office, but he only uses it to send telegrams, never to submit assignments. The characters' lack of constructive occupations again highlights the meaninglessness of life after the busyness of war, when journalism had a real purpose and urgency. Now Stone and the rest of the lost generation drink heavily to avoid thinking about what they've experienced.

The fight between Frances and Cohn further characterizes Cohn's character as a romantic. For Frances, being married would offer financial security and social status. For Cohn, marriage is about love, and he doesn't really love Frances. Frances, like many of those in the lost generation, views relationships as a sort of transaction. She put in a certain amount of time, and now she feels she is "owed" marriage in return. In this way Frances is better suited to Jake, who views all relationships in terms of transactions. When he sees Stone, for example, he quickly offers him money in exchange for their conversation. At the same time the breakup between Frances and Cohn highlights traditional female gender roles during the period. Frances doesn't really mind losing Cohn; she minds losing a marriage prospect, especially at her age. This directly contrasts to Brett, who at age 34 cares little about traditional roles, easily jumping from man to man without feeling pressure to settle down.

Jake's disgust at the way Frances treats Cohn foreshadows his eventual realization that Brett treats him just as poorly. Jake questions why Cohn "keep[s] taking it like that," yet he will spend the entire novel responding to Brett's every beck and call. In Chapter 10 Jake says Brett "can't go anywhere alone," and she rarely has the opportunity as Jake rushes to her side whenever she needs him.

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