The Sun Also Rises | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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The Sun Also Rises | Book 2, Chapter 14 | Summary

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Summary

Jake gets so drunk that night he does not even know what time he goes to bed, but he listens to each of his friends come back to the hotel. He broods in his room—"To hell with women, anyway! To hell with you, Brett Ashley"—while considering his friendship with Brett. He concludes the friendship is not fair because he has been expecting something for nothing. He had been expecting a great friendship without expecting to give anything in return. Jake can't give what Brett wants, which is sex. Maybe heartbreak is the price he must pay to be close to her: "You gave up something and got something else. Or you worked for something. You paid some way for everything that was any good."

The next few days in Pamplona pass peacefully, with everyone quietly going about their business, and no more fights. Jake visits church a few times, once with Brett, but she would rather have her fortune told by a local soothsayer. The beautiful weather lifts everyone's moods, making it impossible to be angry at each other.

Analysis

Jake views all his relationships as transactions, just like paying for his many meals and tipping the locals. This mindset complicates things with Brett because their "transactions" are not equal. Jake tries to explain Brett's behavior by saying he expected something for nothing, but in fact Jake has given his heart. Unless Brett gives hers in return they will never be on equal footing, which explains Jake's anger.

Jake's visit to the church with Brett highlights a lack of spiritual depth or examination in these characters. While Jake feels things deeply, he struggles with communication. In this way Jake embodies the spirit of the lost generation, who preferred to escape their sorrows rather than come to grips with them. On the other hand Brett feels remorse, but rather than reflect on her sins, as confession asks one to do, Brett would prefer to look to her future. She is more concerned with what comes next than in understanding what has been.

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