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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 17

Summary

Outside a bar, Jake finds Bill, Mike, and a young woman named Edna, who is Bill's friend. Both men are drunk and have been thrown out of two places. They all go to Café Suizo and order drinks. Cohn arrives and inquires where Brett is. Mike tells him she has gone off on a honeymoon with Romero. When Cohn calls Jake a pimp, they physically fight, and Jake is knocked out. Cohn knocks Mike down as well. It all seems like a bad dream to Jake.

As Jake returns to the hotel, he notices that everything looks new and changed to him. He feels like he has never seen the trees before. He feels as he felt once coming home from an out-of-town football game at which he had been kicked in the head. At the hotel, Bill urges him to go up and see Cohn, who has been in another scrape. When Jake finds him, Cohn is crying. Jake reminds him that he has called him a pimp, and Cohn begs for forgiveness. Jake complies and then leaves.

Jake wakes up and remembers his promise to take Bill's friend Edna to see the running of the bulls. A waiter at the café tells him his friends, two men and a woman, have already left. Jake leaves to find them. During the running of the bulls, a man is gored and later dies. When Jake later discusses the event with a waiter, the man, with an atypical Spanish attitude, says the bulls are nothing but brute animals. Romero killed the bull that was responsible for the murder during a bullfight the same afternoon. Romero cut off the bull's ear and gave it to Brett. She put it in Jake's handkerchief along with some cigarette butts and left it in his drawer at Montoya's.


Jake finally catches up with Bill and Mike at the hotel. They describe the running of the bulls and laugh about Cohn. Jake finds out that after Cohn hit him, he found Brett and Romero in Romero's room and fought the matador. Cohn knocked him down fifteen times. Now Brett, who enjoys the nursing role, is tending to Romero.

Mike then tells the story of Brett's unhappy marriage to Ashley, who was mentally disturbed and used to claim he would kill her. He slept with a loaded gun, which Brett would unload after he had fallen asleep. Mike leaves and orders six bottles of beer for his room. Bill and Jake are left to discuss the events of the night before.

Notes

Jake already feels terrible about betraying Montoya, but things only get worse for him. He is knocked out by Cohn, who feels betrayed by Jake and calls him a pimp. Jake feels that the beating is punishment for his betrayal of Montoya and for betraying his own sense of what is really right and wrong. He knows he has done wrong, but his love for Brett is too strong to make him do right. He will simply do anything for her, including being dishonorable.

Cohn's anger is truly out of control. After punching Jake, he attacks Mike as well. He then goes off and finds Romero. Cohn repeatedly knocks the matador down, but he is too much of a man to give up. He keeps coming back for more. Romero's strength and pride are too much for Cohn. He knows he is a defeated man with no friends left; as a result, he leaves Pamplona and does not appear in the rest of the book.

Unlike Cohn, Mike is not terribly bothered by Brett's affair with Romero. He realizes that if he marries Brett, he will lose her from time to time to other men. He cannot settle her down permanently. She is only planning to marry Mike because she is tired of her present life and seeks a change. She knows that Mike is not challenging or complicated, but he is available.

Brett's disregard of the high honor she received in being given the bull's ear indicates her dishonor in the esteem of any true aficionado. The fact that Jake continues to be loyal to her indicates that he has forsaken his place in the society of aficionados.

This chapter details the outcome of Jake's mistake in getting Brett and Pedro Romero together. Romero is badly hurt and his bull fighting is compromised, just as Montoya seems to have known would happen when Montoya snubbed Jake the previous evening when he saw them together.

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