Jake does not see Brett or Cohn for a while. He receives a brief card from Brett, who is vacationing in San Sebastian. He also receives a note from Cohn reporting that he has left Paris for the countryside. Frances has left for England. Jake’s friend Bill Gorton, an American veteran, arrives from the States. He and Jake plan on going to Spain in order to fish and to attend the fiesta at Pamplona. Bill visits Jake before leaving to visit Budapest and Vienna. When he returns, he tells Jake that he was too drunk to remember very much of his four days in Vienna. While Jake and Bill look for a restaurant, they see Brett get out of a cab. Jake, up to this point, is unaware that she has returned from San Sebastian.
Jake, Bill, and Brett go for drinks together. Brett eventually leaves to meet Mike Campbell, and Jake and Bill eat dinner and drink some more in a restaurant packed with American tourists. Later, they meet Brett and Mike at a café. Mike is drunk and continually mentions how beautiful Brett is. He wants to return to their hotel early. Jake and Bill decide to attend a boxing match, leaving them alone.
The next morning, Jake receives a wire from Cohn asking to meet Bill and Jake when they go fishing in Spain. Jake makes the necessary arrangements. That evening Jake finds Brett and Mike at a bar. They ask if they may join him in Spain as well. Jake politely responds that they may. When Mike leaves to get a haircut, Brett asks if Cohn will be going to Spain as well. When Jake tells her that he will, she wonders if it will be too “rough” on Cohn. Jake does not understand until she reveals that she was with Cohn in San Sebastian. Jake and Brett exchange tense words before eventually deciding that Brett should write Cohn, telling him she will be in Spain. To their surprise, when Cohn receives her note, he still wants to go. Jake plans to meet Mike and Brett in Pamplona. Bill and Jake board a train from Paris to Bayonne, where they plan to meet Cohn. The train is overrun with people (whom Jake identifies as Catholics), and the two men must wait to eat their lunch. When they arrive in Bayonne, Cohn is waiting at the station.
Bill, Jake, and Cohn hire a car to Pamplona. Cohn is nervous because he does not know if Bill and Jake know about his fling with Brett in San Sebastian. He does not believe Brett and Mike will arrive later that night. His “air of superior knowledge” irritates Bill and Jake. In anger, Bill foolishly wagers a hundred pesetas that they will arrive on time. Bill tells Jake that he can’t stand it when Cohn gets “superior and Jewish.” When Jake picks up his bullfighting tickets, he stops at the cathedral to pray, but he finds his mind wandering.
Jake goes with Cohn to the station to meet Mike and Brett, simply to irritate Cohn. However, Mike and Brett are not on the train, so Jake and Cohn return to the hotel. Jake receives a telegram from Brett and Mike telling him that they have stopped in San Sebastian because Brett is sick. He does not hand the telegram over because he wants to annoy Cohn further, but he does tell Bill and Cohn that Brett and Mike are still in San Sebastian. Bill and Jake plan to take a bus to a small town called Burguete to go fishing, but Cohn decides to stay behind and wait for Brett and Mike. He admits to Jake that he wrote to Brett suggesting a meeting in San Sebastian. When Jake is alone with Bill, Bill reports that Cohn confided in him about his “date” with Brett. Bill says that he thinks Cohn is nice but “so awful.”
Bill Gorton provides an important contrast to Jake. While Jake is generally tight-lipped and hesitates to express what is on his mind, Bill takes a different approach to communicating his feelings: he jokes constantly, using humor as a coping mechanism. Bill, like all of Jake’s friends, wrestles with the demons of the postwar world. Thus, he feels compelled to drink himself blind for four days in Vienna. But humor allows him to talk about the issues that haunt him in the wake of the Great War. For instance, he addresses the issue of weakened masculinity in the postwar world through his motto of “Never be daunted.” He presents this phrase in the context of drinking, telling Jake not to be daunted by how much he needs to drink in order to “catch up.” The phrase implicitly touches upon notions of valor and bravery. Bill subtly suggests that in the postwar world, such notions have meaning only in the realm of alcohol.
I believe that the raised baton also refers to the fact that Jake is impotent and he and Brett will never have the relationship that they both desire.
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Ernest Hemingway stated, concerning this book, that “‘The Sun Also Rises’ is a damn tragedy with the earth abiding as hero forever”. Unfortunately, we have not really understood how he explained this in his writings because we have not understood the character of Brett- what she symbolizes- in this novel. Brett is not to be seen as a separate, individual character in her own right but rather she symbolizes an element within another character. We can only understand the true significance of Hemingway’s declaration if we begin to see... Read more→
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