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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 16

Summary

Jake awakes the next morning to find it raining. He walks out beyond the town and sees that bad weather is coming over the mountains. He returns to find the café crowded and goes to the hotel to shave. While in his room, Jake is visited by Montoya, who tells him the American ambassador is in town and wants Pedro Romero and Marcial Lalanda, another bullfighter, to come for a visit. Jake tells Montoya not to give Romero the message, an idea that pleases Montoya. He tells Jake that such people do not know what Romero is worth; instead they flatter him and use him up (a foreshadowing of what Brett will do to Romero). Montoya tells of one disgusting American woman who collects bullfighters like trophies. Montoya concludes by saying that Romero is a fine boy who ought to stay with his own kind and away from the typical Americans.

Jake finds his friends, who are already drunk, and has dinner with them. The men are joking with shoe shining, buying one shoeshine after another for each other. Jake feels embarrassed by their behavior, especially since Romero is at the next table. Jake talks to the matador about his bull fighting and finds nothing conceited about him. Brett comes over and wants to be introduced. Mike yells out drunkenly, saying that bulls have no balls and that Brett wants to know how to get into his pants. Montoya comes in and starts to smile at Jake; but he notices Romero with a glass of cognac and a table full of drunks, a combination which disturbs Montoya. He knows a passionate bullfighter must have total concentration and no diversion. To show his displeasure, Montoya does not even nod at Jake.


Mike, inebriated again, begins to taunt Cohn. Jake, however, convinces Mike to go outside and watch the fireworks. Sort of like the evening, the fireworks do not work, because of the wetness. The group then moves on to a pub, but Brett has sent Cohn away. Mike and Bill soon leave as well. Brett stays to talk to Jake. He notices that she looks more nervous than he has ever seen her, so Jake suggests a walk. They stop and sit on a stone wall, watching the city and all its festivities. As they walk back, Brett asks Jake if he still loves her. He admits that he does. She then tells him she is in love with Romero. Jake answers, "I wouldn't be if I were you.....you ought to stop." Brett then shows Jake her trembling hand and says she is shaking like that throughout. She admits she has lost her self-respect and is miserable to constantly have "that damned Jew about." She would like to stay drunk all the time, but knows she cannot; instead, she begs Jake to stand by her and see her through it all. He responds, "Sure." She then urges Jake to come with her to find Romero.

Romero is in the café, even though he has a fight the next day. He comes over to the table where Brett and Jake are sitting. Brett holds his hand, reads his palm, and tells him there are a thousand bulls in his future. Romero smiles and says he is never going to die. He also admits that the bulls are his best friends. Jake understands it is time for him to leave; before he goes, he exchanges a look with Romero. He wants to make sure that Romero understands Brett's intentions. As Jake heads towards the door, he notices that the hard-eyed people at the bullfighter table; they are glaring at him unpleasantly. When Jake comes back to check twenty minutes later, he finds that Brett and Romero are gone; he sees their empty cognac glasses on the table.

Notes

The chapter begins with foul weather, foreshadowing the foul events that are to come in this and later chapters. After a brief walk in the morning rain, Jake returns to the hotel. Montoya comes to his room to say the American ambassador has sent a message to Romero, inviting him and another bullfighter for a visit. Both Jake and Montoya agree that the message should not be delivered. Even though Jake is an American, he is different that most of them, who have no passion for or understanding of bullfighting. He knows that the ambassador is not really interested in Romero; he just wants to brag about having visited with him. Montoya knows that such types just want to flatter themselves and use Romero. Ironically, this is exactly what Brett will accomplish with Romero.

When Montoya enters the restaurant where Jake is dining with his friends, he almost nods at Jake. Then he notices that the matador is sitting with Jake's drunken friends, who he already does not like or respect even though he forgives Jake for them; in addition, there is a cognac in Romero's hand. Montoya, the true aficionado of bull fighting, is horrified that a matador would compromise himself in such a manner the night before a big fight. Montoya is equally ashamed of Jake for letting this happen. Jake has violated the code of honor among aficionados of bullfighting by exposing Romero to his degenerate friends.

It is important to note that Jake is at first embarrassed by the behavior of his drunken friends, not for his own sake, but because Romero is sitting at the next table. Yet he does nothing to stop their loud, obnoxious behavior; neither does he try to stop Brett from going over to Romero's table, even though Jake instinctively knows what she is after. When Brett later admits to Jake that she is in love with Romero (or more truthfully wants to be his lover), he mildly protests, telling her that she should not be in love with him; but once again, he does nothing to stop Brett's advances. She tells Jake she is going back to the cafe to find Romero, and he walks her there. When Romero comes over the table, he leaves the two of them alone. Not surprisingly, they are gone by the time Jake gets back twenty minutes later.

The depth of Jake's love for Brett is clearly shown in this chapter. He admits to her that he still loves her, but she has no idea to what level. He is willing to lose the esteem of Montoya, who for years has served as his Spanish father-figure, in order to help Brett satisfy her sexual appetite for Romero. Jake knows what the consequences of Brett will be for the matador, for her effect is the same on every man she meets. She will cause him to lose his concentration in the ring; she will strip away his grace under pressure.

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