The Sun Also Rises

by: Ernest Hemingway

Chapters III–IV

Summary Chapters III–IV

Brett’s mention of getting “safely” drunk with the male friends she brings in and Jake’s response that he is “disgusted” by them are coded references to homosexuality. This disgust further demonstrates Jake’s anxiety regarding his masculinity. Moreover, we can infer from Brett’s actions that her definition of romance requires sex with penetration. Because Jake can never satisfy Brett’s sexual desires—she is clearly unsatisfied by or unwilling to consider alternative forms of sexual pleasure—her presence constantly reminds him of his impotence. Jake’s mocking reaction to Cohn’s interest in Brett also reveals that Cohn’s ability to consummate his desire for Brett makes Jake anxious about his own masculinity.