Undeniably handsome and full of life, Pedro Romero is the nineteen-year-old bullfighter who wins Brett over with his bravura performance in the arena. He also earns the respect of Jake and the rest of the crowd at the bullfights as a result of the “real emotion” and honest technique he uses with the bulls. These qualities alone are enough to render him a hero in the world of the novel, but the ways in which he acts as a foil character for Jake and his friends is what ultimately makes him a key figure. Given how closely Hemingway associates Romero with bullfighting, the symbolic aspects of his career inevitably apply to him as an individual as well. The bullfights act as a symbol of traditional masculinity and sexual tension, both of which Romero brings to the novel. His mastery in the arena emphasizes the confidence he has in his macho identity, and this self-assuredness contrasts significantly with the insecurities that Jake and his friends experience. In addition to embodying an idealized masculinity, Romero also stands out from the novel’s other characters for the initiative and dedication that he shows with regards to bullfighting. His career gives him a sense of purpose, and he spends a considerable amount of time investing in his skills. Romero’s drive starkly contrasts with the blasé attitudes and empty futures that plague the other characters. Given his young age, these qualities allow Romero to become an emblem of hope for future generations, suggesting that the Lost Generation’s sorrows can be overcome. 

At the same time, the hope and confidence that Romero brings to the novel are not fully immune to the effects of his bleak environment. His involvement with Brett in particular casts a shadow over his otherwise glorifying performances in the bullfighting arena, and this shift hints at the infectious nature of the group’s aimlessness. Romero plays a key role in adding to the tension among the men competing for Brett’s attention and inadvertently draws out their worst qualities. The jealousy he inspires ultimately leads to the novel’s climax in which Cohn attacks both him and Jake, an event which leaves him sore and bruised. Although he succeeds in his fights the following day, the physical evidence of Cohn’s assault serves as an indicator of Romero’s corruptibility. Skepticism about the impacts of his relationship with Brett runs rampant, and even she eventually recognizes that they could never truly make each other happy. In the end, however, their separation allows for Romero to remain a figure of hope for the future.