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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

BOOK II

CHAPTER 8

Summary

At the beginning of the chapter, Jake is alone, for all of his friends have left Paris. He first receives a note from Brett from San Sebastian. He then gets a note from Cohn saying that he will be out of the country for two weeks, but that he still wants to go on the fishing trip. Jake himself looks forward to a trip to Spain and the bullfights at the end of June. Until then, Jake tries to keep himself occupied with work and socializing.

An old friend, Bill Gorton arrives and stays with Jake for two days. He is in a very cheerful mood, having made money on his last book, and says the States, especially New York, were "wonderful." He is a realistic writer who enjoys poking fun, and his "wonderful" is chosen as an insult to the middle class Americans who think everything in the twenties is "wonderful." After Gorton leaves, Jake receives a note from him saying that Vienna is wonderful. Then he gets a card from Budapest, which is also wonderful. Jake is entertained by Gorton's humor and is glad to see him upon his return. Gorton reveals that he stayed drunk for four days in Vienna and became involved in a prizefight that was "fixed." He unsuccessfully tried to help the Black boxer get paid for the fight.

Jake and Gorton walk to a restaurant for dinner. On the way, they pass a taxidermist's shop. Bill wants to buy a stuffed dog. Jake dismisses the desire as coming from Bill's drunken state, but Gorton keeps bringing stuffed animals into the discussion in witty way. His conversation also reflects his inebriation as he rambles on about never being "daunted" in public. A taxi passes them, and Brett, just returned from San Sebastian, waves and stops the cab. Jake, playing on Gorton's humor, introduces him as a taxidermist, but Brett fails to respond. The two men convince her to go with them to have a drink. At the restaurant they do not eat, only drink. Brett tells them that Michael, her fiance, is arriving at nine o' clock. Jake also notices that Brett wrinkles the corners of her eyes in a flirtatious manner at Bill Gorton. After drinks, Brett must leave, but asks them to meet her and Michael at ten o'clock. After she departs, Bill asks Jake questions about Brett.


The men eat dinner at another restaurant, Madame Lecomte's, a favorite spot for American tourists. Madame Lecomte notes that Jake never comes to her restaurant any more. He explains by saying, "Too many compatriots." After dinner Jake and Gorton take a long walk before meeting Michael and Brett, who are waiting for them at the bar. Without emotion, Brett introduces Mike to Gorton as "an undischarged bankrupt," and Mike does not react. While Jake is talking to Mike, he notices that Bill is talking to Brett. She, however, still pays attention to Mike and "wrinkled the corners of her eye" at him, as she had done earlier to Bill. Mike is "tight" with too much alcohol and constantly exclaims that Brett is "a lovely piece" and asking Jake if he agrees. Bill proposes they all go to a fight, but since Mike is drunk, Brett insists that she needs to take him home. Jake and Bill depart alone to go and see the fight.

Notes

Several months have elapsed, for Book I is in the spring and Book II opens in mid June. Jake finds him self almost alone with the absence of Cohn (who has gone to the country for several weeks) and Frances (who has gone to England) and Brett (who is in San Sebastian). He fills the void with work and socializing. His quiet is then interrupted by the arrival of his good friend, Bill Gorton, whom Jake truly welcomes. The two men are very much alike. They both have a good sense of humor, enjoy sports and drinking, are good writers, and have a realistic approach to life.

Drinking, as a reflection of the empty life style of the Lost Generation, is again very much a part of this chapter. When Gorton arrives at Jake's apartment, he has been drinking and continues to do so. Gorton also tells Jake about staying drunk for four days in Vienna, where he helped the " wonderful" black fighter. Before dining, the two men stop for another drink, and Gorton admits in a staccato, inebriated manner, "Certainly like to drink." In his drunken state, Gorton wants to stop at the taxidermy and buy a stuffed dog. He thinks it would be hilarious, for a stuffed animal of any sort is not the real thing, but an imitation, and most people love to accept the imitation of life. In going on and on about stuffed animals throughout the chapter, Gorton is again poking fun at middle class America, just as he does when he repeatedly uses the word "wonderful" to evaluate everything.

When Jake and Gorton meet Brett and Mike at Cafe Select, Mike is drunk and constantly comments about Brett's beauty, saying she is "a lovely piece." Brett, who like Jake, hates public displays of emotion, asks her fiance, "What are these outbursts of affection?" Brett's lack of emotion is also seen when she introduces Mike to Bill Gorton and casually says he is "an undischarged bankrupt," a fact that should bother both Brett and Jake. Instead, they are unconcerned about Mike's financial irresponsibility.

Throughout the chapter, the characters speak in fragmented and emotionless speech and often do not connect with each other. They make odd statements, and no one even bothers to ask for an explanation. For instance, Jake says Mike is a taxidermist, and Brett never addresses it. Hemingway also uses this chapter to show the usual ways in which Brett and Jake see each other socially and then are separated again. But when they are together, Jake constantly monitors Brett's flirtations with other men. He jealously watches Brett wrinkle her eyes at both Bill Gorton and Mike Campbell. He is bothered by Brett's promiscuity more than he will admit.

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