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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
Jake wakes up early and comments that the weather is chilly for a summer day. He leaves Bill asleep, and puts his shoes on in the hall to keep from waking him. He then goes out to dig for worms to use for fishing. When he returns to the inn, Jake gets Bill out of bed. Bill feels comfortable and relaxed enough to criticize his friend. He tells Jake that, as an expatriate, he has lost touch with the soil and that fake European standards have ruined him. Bill also says that Jake needs to write once again, not just prepare newspaper copy. Finally, he tells Jake of the gossip about him. One group thinks Jake is supported by women and another group thinks he is impotent. Jake simply responds, "I just had an accident." When Bill ends their conversation by saying that Jake is "a hell of a good guy," they realize he could not speak that way to Jake in New York without being accused of homosexuality.
Jake and Bill pack a lunch with wine and walk toward the stream. The walk is long, the country is fine, and the fishing is successful. Choosing not to stay together, Jake fishes on the dam, and Bill wades in the river. As they compare their catches, Jake notices that Bill is sweaty and happy. In total relaxation, they drink wine and eat lunch, joking with each other all the while. After lunch, they lie down to take a nap. Before sleeping, Bill asks if Jake is in love with Brett. Jake answers positively and adds that it has been off and on for a long time. When Bill offers condolences, Jake hides his feelings and says, "I don't give a damn any more. Only I'd a hell of a lot rather not talk about it."
After fishing and napping, Jake and Bill walk back to the inn, arriving after dark. It has been a great day for them, and they feel strengthened by the peacefulness and comradeship that they have experienced. For the next five days, they live close to nature, fish, hike, and enjoy each other's company; and they never hear a from Cohn, Brett, or Mike.
The fishing vacation is placed midway in the book between the action-filled scenes in Paris and the fiesta in Spain. It serves as an interlude in the novel and as an escape for Jake, a time to commune with nature, to concentrate on fishing, and to be away from women and problems, and to be totally free from the constraints of time. Things are much calmer in the small village of Burquete, with only Jake and Bill present. Human relationships are much simpler as well. People are able to get along and be at ease with one other. Bill is so relaxed that he can comfortably ask questions and speak the truth to Jake. He also tells him to look at his career as a newspaperman and encourages him to re-evaluate his life choices.
This conversation and other details in the chapter reveal more about Jake. He is a considerate man, making sure not to wake Bill when he gets up early to dig fishing worms. He is also very observant, noticing the chilliness in the air and the dew on the grass. Key to the chapter is the fact that he is an expert fisherman, thrilling to the fish as it strikes and jumps out of the river. As Jake responds to the little things around him, it reveals that he truly appreciates living each day. It also shows that Jake is able to really relax, to genuinely leave Paris and its challenges behind. His pace is slower, and his conversation with Bill is lighter; he jokes more than usual throughout the chapter.
The entire trip is intended by the author, who loved the outdoors and fishing, to be natural, idyllic, and calming. In fact, critics have called the fishing interlude an "immaculate masculine honeymoon," a male vacation in a world uncomplicated by women or modern urban life.