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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 14

Summary

When Jake comes back to the hotel, he is very drunk, which is uncharacteristic of his behavior. He stays up reading a Turgeneff story and overhears Brett and Cohn come upstairs. He hears them say good night and then hears Brett go into Mike's room, from where he soon hears laughter. After Jake turns off the light and tries to sleep, his mind wanders. He is again bothered by his inability to have Brett himself. He says, "To hell with women, anyway. To hell with you Brett Ashley." The he is bothered by the strength of his emotions, which he always tries to keep under control, and rationalizes that he looks at things differently in the dark. He adds that for six months after that night he never slept with the light off.

Jake then thinks about his friendship with Brett and decides he should think about her side of the relationship. He realizes he has been getting something from her for nothing, and that situation only delayed the presentation of the bill; yet he knows that because of his wound he cannot pay as Brett would like it to be paid. For Jake, enjoying life was learning to get your money's worth and knowing when you had it. It seemed like a fine philosophy. In five years, he realizes, it would seem as silly as all the other fine philosophies he has had in the past. He does not care what life is all about, only how to live in it.


Jake now wishes Mike had not been cruel to Cohn. Although he laughed and enjoyed it when it was happening, the thought of it now disgusts him. He thinks of the moral implications: "That was morality; things that made you disgusted afterward. No, that must be immorality." Unable to sleep, he turns the light back on and goes back to his story.

The next two days in Pamplona are quiet. They watch the workmen building the bullrings, and Jake goes to church a couple of times, once with Brett. She wants to hear him at confession. He tells her it would not be interesting and "besides, it would be in a language she did not know." When they leave the church, they find that Cohn has followed them. Brett goes to a gypsy camp and has her fortune told. "We all felt good and we felt healthy." This was the last day before fiesta.

Notes

This very short chapter is a quiet one, the calm before the storm of fiesta. It is nighttime, and the reader is reminded that Jake has had too much to drink and is then allowed into his mind again. Since he cannot sleep, his thoughts are narrated in a smooth flow. He first thinks about Brett, and is once again pained that he cannot have her. Then he realizes that his relationship with her is not fair, because he cannot pay the bill, and paying the bill is very important to Jake. Notice how often Jake is careful to pay his way and often to over-pay. He is also always the one to organize the events, buy the tickets, write out the itinerary. Both habits are means of maintaining control in the midst of seeming chaos. While everyone else drinks to excess, Jake is usually sober. In many small ways of everyday living, Jake displays his grace under pressure.

Jake's morality is based upon what feels correct to him more than on a strict moral code. When he thinks about the treatment of Cohn earlier in the evening, he is disgusted with Mike's behavior and his own enjoyment of the cruelty. He instinctively knows he was wrong. Jake, in his confession, is definitely moral and painfully truthful, and the reader must judge his culpability. Jake often goes to chapels or cathedrals in the novel, as he does in this chapter, but he does not show an orthodox sense of piety or religion. Instead, he seems to enter the chapels to find a quiet time and place to think. Brett seems to tag along out of curiosity, wanting to hear Jake's confession to the priest. It is no more serious to her than going to the gypsy camp to have her fortune told.

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