What is the plot/story of The Sun Also Rises?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises tells the story about a group of Americans--members of The Lost Generation--living in Paris during the 1920s. The story centers around the narrator, Jake Barnes, a newspaperman; and his longtime friend and would-be romantic interest, Lady Brett Ashley, who had been Jake's nurse following his hospital stay during World War I. Jake loves Brett, but his war wound has left him impotent, and he realizes he will never be able to satisfy the sophisicated and insatiable Lady Ashley, whose husband was killed during the war. Robert Cohn, a writer friend of Jake's, is also in love with Brett, but Brett is already engaged to Mike Campbell, a virtually penniless British nobleman. This group spends most of their time drinking their way through the nightclubs of Paris. When Jake discovers that his friend, Bill Gorton, will be visiting, they plan a fishing expedition before making their way to the San Fermin Festival in Pamploma, Spain--the site of the infamous "running of the bulls."

Jake and Bill spend an idyllic few days fishing before resuming their debauchery in Pamploma, where they meet Brett and Mike. Meanwhile, Cohn has also tagged along, hoping to renew his relationship with Brett, who cares little about Cohn. Tension mounts between the group's drinking sessions and taking in the festivities. Lady Brett falls for an upcoming young bullfighter, Pedro Romero, and Cohn's presence becomes an irritating one for the other men; a former college boxing champion and a Jew, Cohn is not considered part of their inner circle. Mike and Jake eventually end up on the losing end of Cohn's fisticuffs, and Cohn brutally assaults the young bullfighter after he discovers him with Brett. Brett follows Romero to his next fight in Madrid, but Jake soon receives a telegram from her, requesting him to come and take her back home. She has ended her short affair with the bullfighter and, though she calls Jake when in need, she plans to return to and marry Mike. The story ends with Jake realizing that he and Lady Ashley will never be together, and he envisions a future full of uncertainties ahead.