The Sun Also Rises Book II, Chapter 13 Summary and Analysis
by Ernest Hemingway

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Book II, Chapter 13 Summary and Analysis

One morning at breakfast in Burguete Jake receives a letter from Michael saying they will all meet in Pamplona on Tuesday. He apologizes for being late but says Brett had passed out, so they had to take a few days to recuperate. Jake invites Harris to go with them, but he declines so he can spend the rest of the time fishing.

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Later when Bill and Jake are sitting on a bench in front of the inn, a telegram comes from Robert. Jake and Bill are irritated with its brevity, so they send a return telegram that is equally cryptic. Afterward, they tour the local monastery with Harris and go to a pub. Harris really enjoys their company. When he walks them to the bus, he gives them envelopes containing fishing flies. They leave for Pamplona.

When they arrive in Pamplona, people are already decorating for the fiesta. At the hotel, Jake sees Montoya, the proprietor, who tells him Mike, Brett, and Robert have arrived. Montoya says they have gone to see pelota, a game resembling jai alai. Then he says the running of the bulls will be tonight at 7:00.

Montoya respects Jake because of his passion, or afición, for bullfighting. He treats Jake as if they have a secret between them. The hotel is a meeting place of aficiónados, who receive honor from people like Jake and Montoya. He has pictures of bullfighters on the wall but only those whom he considers aficiónados. He keeps others in a drawer or throws them away.

When Jake goes back to the room, Bill asks about the running of the bulls. They find the others who are at a table in the street. When they meet, Mike and Brett greet them warmly while Robert merely acknowledges their arrival. Robert says he did not join Bill and Jake to fish so he could bring Brett and Mike. Brett protests.

In the course of the discussion, they discuss Mike’s past—his war history and his bankruptcy. When he was invited to a dinner by the Prince of Wales, he was asked to wear his medals. He borrowed some from a tailor. Later he gave them away to girls. The tailor tried to get them back because they belonged to a military man who had only sent them to the tailor to be cleaned. Mike did not return them.

As the group walks down to see the bulls unloaded, Robert falls in beside Brett. People line the way to see the bulls. They watch as the first bull comes from the box into the corral with power. The bull goes first for steers, then charges a man. They watch the precision with which bulls move.

As a second bull comes out and gores a steer, Brett watches with fascination. The other steer is clipped but not killed. Then the two bulls and steer team up to make the new bull coming into the ring part of the group. Finally, with the last two bulls, they are all in submission as one herd.

After watching this, the crowd disperses, and they go for drinks at the cafe. As a discussion ensues about bulls and steers, Mike compares Robert to a steer. Conversation between Robert and Mike heats up, and Mike insults Robert repeatedly. Discussion turns to how Robert always follows Brett around like a steer.

Mike’s insults of Robert continue. Robert stands as if to hit Mike but does not follow through with the threat. Mike says Robert was not invited to parties in San Sebastian because no one could stand to invite him. Finally, Bill feels sorry for Robert and leaves with him. Robert is obviously upset, and Jake and Brett are upset with Mike.

After Robert leaves, Brett concurs with Mike’s feelings but disagrees with how he ridiculed Robert. Mike tells Jake how Robert came to San Sebastian to hang around Brett and had stared constantly at her. They ask Jake to tell Robert to change his ways or to get out of Pamplona.

When Jake goes to his room, he has a conversation with Montoya who expresses disappointment about the quality of bulls. When Jake sees Bill, he says Mike was terrible to Robert. As they get ready for dinner, they dread the unpleasantness that will follow the flare up between Mike and Robert. However, Mike acts as if nothing...

(The entire section is 1,677 words.)