Book II, Chapter 12 Summary and Analysis

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New Characters
Wilson Harris: an Englishman staying in Burguete

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Bryan: author Bill refers to

Jake awakens the next morning and lets Bill sleep a while longer while he goes downstairs and to the stream to dig worms for bait. When he goes back to the inn, the proprietor is up. Jake orders coffee and a lunch for the fishing trip before going back to the room.

Bill is already awake. When they go to breakfast, Bill is light-hearted and singing. There is playful bantering, until Bill is afraid he has hurt Jake with a comment about impotence. They gather lunch and wine and go off to fish.

They go across open fields and streams. Finally, they reach the stream where they are to fish, put rods together, and begin. Jake puts the wine into the stream to keep it cold. Then he finds a place on the dam from which to fish. When he first puts his line in, he catches a fish. He takes it off and repeats the procedure until he has six fish. He wraps them and reads until Bill comes for lunch. While they are eating, Jake and Bill again begin a light-hearted conversation, likening their meal to a religious experience. They lie down for a nap beneath trees. While they are lying there, Bill asks about Jake and Brett’s relationship. Jake is honest with him.

They nap for a while until the later afternoon. After they awaken, they pack up to leave. They begin the long walk back to Burguete but do not get there until after dark. They stay and enjoy fishing and swimming for five days, sometimes fishing with an Englishman named Harris.

Chapter 12 is essential in moving toward Jake’s experiences in Pamplona. He reminds the reader of his dissatisfaction with the lost generation’s values through Bill’s definition of expatriates who have emerged on the Paris scene. Bill defines these traits to Jake when he says if you are in that life, you can lose “touch with the soil…drink yourself to death…become obsessed by sex…spend all your time talking, not working.”

Jake has been involved in the fast, nonproductive life of Paris, a wild life he has scorned. In Paris, drinks and food had been extravagant in a backdrop of clubs and drunkenness. These values are embodied in extravagant tastes of the Count who does whatever satisfies immediate cravings.

The fishing trip contrasts that lifestyle with the simplicity of lunch—wine, eggs, and chicken—in a backdrop of nature. Jake is so in tune with nature he drops his hook in the river, and trout nearly jump on it. He lacks unity and is even angered by things he scorns in Paris, such as the homosexual lifestyle.

Life in Burguete is slow-paced with an appreciation of nature resembling a religious experience. Jake and Bill walk through old trees, with sunlight pushing through. Similarly, traditional values are peeking through darkness for Jake. This experience becomes a pseudo-religious awakening for him.

While on the trip, Jake has noticed beautiful churches. This chapter goes further to say the woods are “God’s first temples.” As Bill and...

(The entire section contains 832 words.)

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