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Free Study Guide-The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway-Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 3

Summary

At the beginning of the chapter, Jake is alone on the terrace of the Napolitain after Cohn has left. He is observing the colors of the sky at sunset and watching the people who pass by him, including the parade of prostitutes. He calls one of them, a girl named Georgette, to his table to sit with him. Jake describes her physical appearance ironically: "With her mouth closed she was a rather pretty girl." Their conversation is forced as he asks her questions, and she responds with boredom and cynicism. Even though he is disappointed in her pessimistic and boring personality, he takes her in a horse cab for a drive. They pass the New York Herald bureau with its window full of clocks. When she asks what the clocks are for, Jake tells her they show the hour all over America, and she thinks he is joking with her. When she cuddles up to him and he puts an arm around her, she raises her face for a kiss and puts her hand on his crotch. He removes her hand and tells her "Never mind." She wants to know if he is sick, and he answers, "Everybody's sick. I'm sick too." She asks him what is the matter with him, and he tells her he was hurt in the war.

Jake tells Georgette that he has picked her up to have someone with whom to have dinner. They stop at a restaurant where Jake is hailed by a group of friends, sitting at a large table. They include the Braddocks, Cohn, Frances, and several others, who are out to drink and have a good time. They ask Jake to come to a dance with them and to bring his friend. When Jake returns to his own table, he tells Georgette that his friends are writers and artists. He then takes Georgette to join the group and introduces her as his fiancée. He sarcastically notes that "Georgette smiled that wonderful smile," the one that reveals her rotten teeth. Jake tells the group that her name is Georgette Leblanc, the name of a famous singer. When Mrs. Braddocks asks her if she is related, Georgette corrects Jake and says her name is Hobin. When Frances tries to engage Georgette in conversation, she reveals her boredom to Jake and asks if she has to talk to Frances, who Jake also thinks is vacuous.


The group goes to a club, which is empty when they arrive. The proprietor plays the accordion for them so they can dance. Someone asks Georgette to dance, so Jake goes alone to have another drink. From the bar, he watches as two taxis arrive, and a group of young homosexual men emerge. He says, "With them was Brett. She looked very lovely and she was very much with them." One of the men ostentatiously calls out that Georgette is a harlot and that he is going to dance with her. This does not concern Jake. What does concern him is the fact that "with them was Brett." Jake is anguished enough over Brett's presence to repeat this fact twice.

Jake admits he is very angry and claims that homosexual men always make him angry with their simpering composure. In truth, he is really angry over his own impotence which prohibits him from pursuing Brett, the woman he passionately desires. Instead of hitting one of the homosexuals as he has an urge to do, he walks down the street and has a beer at the next bar. When he returns, he finds that Georgette has joined Brett's group. He sits down at a table, and Mrs. Braddocks brings a man over and introduces him to Jake as Robert Prentiss, a rising new novelist from the United States. He has heard of Jake and asks if he is from Kansas City, as he has been told. Jake, now somewhat drunk, grows angry when Prentiss asks him twice if he finds Paris amusing. He tells Jake, "How charmingly you get angry. I wish I had that faculty." Jake leaves the table and stands by the dance floor. Cohn asks Jake to the bar to have a drink and quizzes Jake as to what is the matter with him. He responds that the whole show makes him sick.

Brett then joins Jake and Cohn at the bar and greets them by saying, "Hello, you chaps." Brett, although dressed in a loose jersey sweater with her hair cut short and brushed back like a boy's, is still "damned good looking." Jake notices that Cohn is leering at her, and says Cohn looks much like Moses must have looked upon seeing the promised land. Cohn asks her to dance, and she tells him she has already promised to dance with Jake. While Jake happily dances with Brett, he tells her that she has made a new conquest with Cohn and teases her about eagerly adding up her conquests. They soon move on to the next bar, but before they depart, Jake leaves a fifty franc note for Georgette, to be given to her only if she asks for him, but returned to him if she leaves with the homosexual men. Jake and Brett walk out of the club and into the night in silence, but she presses his hand hard. When they get into a cab, she leans back her head, closes her eyes, and exclaims, "Oh, darling, I've been so miserable."

Notes

In this chapter, Hemingway vividly paints a picture of the wasted life style of the Lost Generation. His purpose is not to shock, but to show the real human side of life of the expatriates in Paris in the twenties. In quick succession, Jake picks up a prostitute, tells her he is a sick man, and proceeds to get drunk, like most of the people at the dance club. Brett arrives on the scene with a group of whimpering homosexuals, and Jake anguishes over her blatant promiscuity, an anguish that is heightened by his own impotence. In a short chapter, Hemingway says much about this Lost Generation.

The author also displays his typical style of writing in this chapter, using subtle irony and sarcasm throughout. He develops the intense attraction between Jake and Brett through understatement. All of their emotion is revealed in a few carefully chosen words and gestures. But the understatement emphasizes the strong bond of friendship between them and highlights the ironic nature of their relationship. Jake would give anything to be Brett's lover, but it is beyond him to accomplish that, not because of a lack of desire on her part, but because of his own war wound that haunts him. In reaction to their seemingly opposite problems, Jake and Brett ironically talk and act in a similar manner. Both scorn ready shows of emotion; both pretend boredom with life when they seem to be emotionally overwhelmed by it; and both display cynicism and talk in ironies to the people that surround them.

Throughout the chapter, Jake must deal with his emotions, and they are revealed in many subtle ways. Jake never reveals his disgust over the fact that Georgette has rotten teeth. Instead, he merely states that she looks best when her mouth is closed. He introduces her cruelly, but humorously, to his friends as his fiancee, as if a young man of his class would ever consider marrying an older prostitute with bad teeth. Jake also fiercely dislikes and resents the homosexual men, probably due to his own conflicted sexuality. In addition, he agonizes over Brett's promiscuity and is miserable because he himself cannot have sex with her. The irony is that the homosexuals could easily conquer Brett, but they have no desire to do so, a fact which makes Jake's agony and hatred of the gays even greater. Ironically, Brett herself is dressed and coifed as a boy, but Jake finds her strikingly attractive. Jake, unable to deal with his emotions, denies his anger, drinks, snaps at Prentiss, leaves the bar, and comes back to drink some more.

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