The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The Sun Also Rises book cover
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What happens in The Sun Also Rises?

Jake Barnes plays tennis with Robern Cohn, an insecure Jewish man in the midst of a disastrous affair with Frances. After selling a novel, Cohn becomes dissatisfied with his life and has an affair with Brett Ashley, an Englishwoman with whom Jake is in love.

  • Jake can't act on his love for Brett because of a war injury that left him impotent. He's forced to stand by while she and Robert have a brief love affair in San Sebastian. Later, they all travel to Pamplona to watch the famous Running of the Bulls.
  • Brett falls for a skilled bullfighter named Romero, who soon grows ashamed of her. Jealous, Robert fights with Romero, injuring him before the final day of the fiesta. Nevertheless, Romero excels in the ring, killing a bull that gored a man just that morning.
  • Brett and Romero run off to Madrid together. Three days later, she telegrams Jake, asking for his help. He meets her in San Sebastian, where she bemoans the fact that they can't be together. She tells him she has decided to marry her fiancé, Michael Campbell.

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Summary of the Novel
The novel opens with an introduction to Robert Cohn, an insecure Jewish man whose relationships with women have lead to disastrous affairs. After his divorce, he meets Frances, who convinces him to travel to Europe. After three years with her, Cohn has written a novel, goes to America, and gets it accepted by a publisher. While he is there, attention from other women raises his confidence and makes him lose interest in Frances.

After he returns to Europe, his dissatisfaction with his life grows when he becomes smitten with Brett, a woman with whom Jake is also in love. She and Jake can never move beyond a platonic relationship, though, because of a war injury that left Jake impotent.

Robert changes when he falls in love with Brett. He no longer cares about tennis, sends Frances away, and has conflicts with people. Brett and Robert have an affair in San Sebastian, and Jake begins to despise Robert.

The group decides to go to Spain to fish. Bill, Robert, and Jake go ahead to get equipment and rooms and plan for Brett and Mike to join them later in Pamplona. Robert nervously awaits Brett’s arrival. He goes to the station in case she shows up. When she does not, he does not go fishing in case Brett went to San Sebastian to meet him. Robert disgusts Bill and Jake. They go to Burguete and fish for five days before returning.

When they go to Pamplona, they stay at the Hotel Montoya, which is owned by Juanito Montoya. He respects Jake because of his passion, or afición, for bullfighting. The hotel is the meeting place for aficiónados and has pictures of only aficiónado bullfighters on the wall.

In Pamplona, Robert follows Brett constantly. The first day of the fiesta, streets become crowded with people drinking and partying. Releasing the bulls signals the beginning of the bullfights.

The next day the bullfights begin. Montoya introduces Bill and Jake to Romero, the newcomer. They are impressed with him as an aficiónado. At the bullfight, spectators are impressed with his skills, but Brett with his attractiveness.

The next day Romero steals the show. Montoya shows his protectiveness for Romero when the American ambassador wants Romero to join him for coffee. Montoya expresses concern that this attention may spoil Romero. Jake agrees and suggests Montoya lose the message. However, when Brett insists on being introduced and confides to Jake she has fallen in love with Romero, Jake violates his afición and arranges their affair.

When Jake returns to the group without Brett, Robert panics. When Robert finds Brett is with Romero, Robert calls Jake a “pimp” as he hits him. Robert finds Brett in Romero’s room and nearly kills him, but Romero does not quit. After Brett lambasts him, Robert begins crying and apologizes to Romero and later to Jake. He leaves Pamplona in the morning.

The next morning is the final day of the fiesta. As bulls are running the streets into the...

(The entire section is 2,789 words.)