Arts Books

The Sun Also Rises


The Sun Also Rises was written by Ernest Hemingway.  It was published in 1926 after The Torrents of Spring.  The novel starts with the protagonist Jake Barnes describing Robert Cohn and their past relationship.  Cohn is a writer.  He goes to New York to find a publisher and discovers success.  He returns to Paris and talks to Jake.  They chat about traveling.  Robert drinks and watches the Parisian crowd.

Jake takes a prostitute to dinner.  He explains that sexual acts are impossible for him after suffering wartime injuries.  The food is good.  Robert and Frances notice Jake and invite them dancing.  The club is crowded.  The air is hot.  Lady Brett Ashley arrives. She drinks with Cohn and Barnes.  The trio hails a cab.  Jake leaves money for his date.  Brett says she is miserable.  She loves Jake.  They kiss.  He loves Brett.  They are not together because of the wound.  Brett believes she is being punished for her sins.

Robert and Jake eat lunch.  They talk about Brett’s fiancé who is a Scotsman.  Her true love died in the war.  Cohn thinks Jake should treat her better.  They argue.  Night falls.  Jake goes to meet Brett and cannot find her.  He wanders instead and runs into Harvey Stone the gambler.  They find Robert.  Harvey yells at him and leaves.  Frances talks to Jake.  She complains that Cohn will not marry her.  Jake leaves.

the sun also rises
The Sun Also Rises book – Photo Credit: stillframe


Time passes.  Jake reads a card from Brett.  She is in San Sebastian.  Cohn heads to the countryside.  Frances leaves for England.  The American Bill Gorton arrives and makes plans with him to fish and party in Pamplona, Spain.  Bill goes to Vienna and Budapest first.  He returns and meets up with Jake and Brett and Mike.  They eat.  The boys go to a boxing match without the couple.  Cohn wires Jake in the morning asking to meet in Spain.  Mike and Brett join too.  Brett asks if Robert is going.  Jake says he is.  She wonders if it will be rough on him after their affair in San Sebastian.

Bill and Jake take a train to Bayonne.  They board a bus to Burguete.  It is crowded with Basque peasants.  They teach the boys how to drink from wineskins.  They share their bottles of wine in return.  The Spanish countryside is beautiful.  They arrive at a hotel and continue to drink.  Jake drifts to sleep in a pleasant mood.  He wakes up at dawn and gathers some worms.  The fishermen pack lunch and some wine.  They go to a river.  They catch several fish.  They talk about the war and eat and drink and play cards and joke.  Five days pass.

The two arrive in Pamplona.  Montoya the innkeeper tells them their friends have arrived.  Everyone meets in a café.  Mike talks about the war.  Drinking begins.  The bulls are unloaded nearby.  The day ends.  Another café and more drinking.  Everyone is drunk.  Mike is aware of Brett’s past affairs.  Jake returns to his room inebriated.  He questions his morality and sleeps. Preparations for the fiesta begin.  The sun also rises.  A few quiet days pass.

Pamplona, Spain
Pamplona, Spain – Photo Credit: Emmanuel Dyan

The Fiesta

The fiesta starts.  The square fills with humans.  Shouting, dancing, drinking and more drinking.  Seven days turn into an illusion.  Money loses its value.  Consequences are absent.  Jake buys a few wineskins and everyone eats.  Jake goes to bed.  The others disappear into the haze.  A rocket explodes.  The bulls are released.  Jake awakens.  He sits close to the action of a bullfight with Bill.  Montoya introduces them to an upcoming bullfighter.  His name is Romero.  Romero is skilled.  The party continues.

Romero eats dinner at the Grand Hotel.  Everyone is drunk.  Brett talks to Romero.  The last day of the fiesta begins.  The tourists are everywhere.  Bill and Mike harass some others.  Brett leaves with Romero.  Jake returns and is alone.  He meets the instigators at a bar.  Mike and Bill are kicked out.  They continue on to the next establishment and deeper into madness.  Someone is killed during the running of the bulls in the morning.  The people trample over the gored body.  Jake asks Bill about it later.  The American is unaware of the carnage.  Jake forgives Robert for fighting Romero. 

Cohn leaves.  Bill and Jake eat lunch and meet Brett for the last bullfight.  Romero moves with grace and kills the bull that killed the man from earlier.  He severs the animal’s ear and gives it to Brett.  She drinks with Jake.  He admits he is depressed.  She urges him to drink absinthe.  Romero and Brett leave on a train.  Jake and Bill and Mike get drunk and drive to Bayonne.  Jake leaves and goes to San Sebastian to relax. 

bull hug
Running with bulls – Photo Credit: ncole458

He receives telegrams from Brett.  She is in trouble and wants to meet in Madrid.  Jake travels to her.  She kisses him.  Brett talks about Romero and her problems.  She is going back to Mike.  The friends go to a bar and drink three martinis before lunch.  Jake orders three bottles of wine and two more.  The two drive around town in a taxi and realize what they could have been.  The friendship is stronger. The Sun Also Rises ends.

Bullfight – Photo Credit: ainudil

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