Jake’s dinner with Cohn and Frances establishes the novel’s recurrent motif of a controlling female overpowering a weak male. Although Cohn may want to go to Strasbourg, he refuses Jake’s offer because it would make Frances uncomfortable if he spent time with another woman. Frances controls Cohn and his movements, and he does not, or cannot, stand up to her. This pattern of a strong woman dominating a weak man appears as part of the novel’s broad theme of weakened masculinity, which Hemingway explores throughout The Sun Also Rises.
Finally, these chapters offer the first introduction to Hemingway’s sparse and unadorned prose style. Hemingway rarely uses metaphors or similes to communicate the action of the novel. Instead, he relies on direct, short, simple sentences. His dialogue is brief as well. Characters seldom speak more than a sentence or two at a time. Yet this seemingly minimalist style expresses much through implication and suggestion. We can infer much about Jake, for example, through his descriptions of other people. The details Hemingway chooses to include, although few, are invariably quite revealing.