Brett’s frequent sexual affairs have clearly not filled the emotional void in her life, a void created, perhaps, by the death of her “true love” during the war. She wanders aimlessly from man to man, just as she wanders from bar to bar. She idealizes the relationship she “would have had” with Jake. For her, Jake represents the unattainable thing that would fulfill her. Hence, she too is a victim of the Lost Generation’s inescapable dissatisfaction with life.
Although Brett insists to Jake that the count is “one of us,” the count actually serves as a foil for Jake’s crowd of restless, dissatisfied, pleasure-seeking friends. He is older and more experienced than they are, and, unlike them, he is confident in his masculinity. Most important, although he has taken part in seven wars and four revolutions, he does not seem to suffer from the empty cynicism that afflicts Jake and his friends. Indeed, more than any other character in the novel, he seems to take genuine pleasure in life. He makes an effort to appreciate the enjoyment that life offers. He urges Brett to drink the champagne slowly, to enjoy it instead of gulping it down. He believes in love, but not in Cohn’s excessively romantic, unrealistic brand of love. Thus, love and alcohol, which are so troublesome for Jake and his friends, are sources of satisfaction for Count Mippipopolous. Learning the value of things for him means understanding and delighting in what is truly valuable.