Book II, Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis

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New Characters
Bill Gorton: Jake’s fishing/bullfighting buddy; writer

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Madame Lecomte: proprietor of Paris restaurant on Women’s Club list

As Book II begins, Jake says he does not see Brett again until she comes back from San Sebastian. He also mentions he does not see Robert during this time and Frances has left for England. Jake finds this break from Robert’s company a good time to prepare for his trip to Spain at the end of June.

Bill Gorton comes to Paris with stories from travels—theater and prize fighting. He leaves for Vienna and Budapest; when he returns, he says he had a wonderful time. He loves Budapest, but his recollections of Vienna are vague because of his intoxication. One thing he remembers is that a black prize fighter knocked out a white fighter. When the black man started to make a speech, the white fighter went for him; the black knocked him out. When pandemonium broke out, the black man had to escape for his life.

Bill lent the black fighter a jacket. When he and Bill went back to get the prize money, promoters claimed the black owed them money. They claimed he had violated his contract by knocking out the white boy. He not only was not paid, but someone took his watch too.

When Bill and Jake go to dinner and drinks, they see Brett in a taxi. They stop for drinks, chat, and make plans to meet later when Mike arrives. They have dinner; then Bill and Jake walk along the river and enjoy the Paris night.

They go see Brett and her fiancé, Mike Campbell. Mike shows adoration for Brett, and they engage in conversation about her hat. Jake and Bill leave to go to a fight, and Mike and Brett are at the bar, drunk.

Book II’s initial setting is still in Paris but will eventually move to Spain where different values are established. This contrasts those seen so far in Paris by the lost generation’s lack of traditional values. Bill first refers to values in his comment about stuffed animals. He says their purchase is a “Simple exchange of values. You give them money. They give you a stuffed dog.”

This reference is similar to Brett’s comment “You’re dead, that’s all” to the Count in the last chapter. It refers to the emptiness of the Paris crowd that has sold itself for money and pleasure. The taxidermist collects animals that were once alive just as Paris collects people who look okay but are dead to what is really important in life. Likewise, Brett has collected her trophies of men.

Brett has magic for men—now Mike and Bill. Mike, like Brett, is morally bankrupt, but he is also financially bankrupt. Mike’s appearance in the novel shows the intense relationship Brett and Mike have, but it is based on sensual pleasures, and for Mike, often financial necessity.

Jake begins this book by hinting at not only Brett’s role with Robert but also his relief Robert has been gone by saying he “enjoyed not having to play tennis.” Although Brett’s affair with Robert is foreshadowed by reference to their simultaneous absences, at this point Jake does not make the connection. Brett refers subtly, though, to her conquest of Robert in terms of San Sebastian. She says she “was a fool to go away” and says the trip (i.e., Robert) was “All right…Not frightfully amusing.”

Brett refers to Paris as a haven and says, “One’s an ass to leave...

(The entire section contains 910 words.)

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