In The Sun Also Rises, what are the reasons for Brett and Romero's breakup, and how does this show growth for Brett?
What does the quote, “It’s sort of what we have instead of God,” mean?
The reason that Brett breaks up with Romero is because she does not want to ruin him. She tells Jake,
"He is only nineteen...youo know I'd have lived with him if I hadn't seen it was bad for him...I'm not going to be one of these bitches that ruins children."
Romero is a young bull fighter with amazing talent and a bright future before him. His handlers have been trying to make sure that he not be "spoiled" by distractions which would divert him from his goals, and they are quite disconcerted when Jake introduces him to Brett. Brett, representative of the "Lost Generation," is self-centered and aimless, accustomed to using people for her own edification. It is a sign of growth in her that she is able to recognize that Romero really is something special, and that she has the power to ruin him. It is difficult for Brett, because, as she says, she and Romero "got along damned well," but she somehow finds the strength to make him leave, after he expresses the desire to marry her. Brett recognizes the shallow emptiness that characterizes her life, and does not want to drag Romero down with her. She resolves to go back to Mike, who, like herself, is
"so damned nice and...awful...my sort of thing."
Brett acknowledges that it feels "rather good" to do the right thing, to decide "not to be a bitch." She compares her noble action to "what we have instead of God;" in the morally bankrupt landscape in which she and her contemporaries live, there is an absence of God and hopefulness, and in lieu of these things, Brett can look for affirmation in the spark of decency that still resides within her (Chapter 19).