The Sun Also Rises Summary
Ernest Hemingway’s debut novel, The Sun Also Rises, is a literary classic. During the 1920s, the storey follows a group of American expatriates living abroad in Europe. Taking inspiration from Ecclesiastes 1:5: “the sun also ariseth.” Hemingway chose the title of the book for it. Originally titled Fiesta, the novel was published under that title in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain.
The novel was included in Time magazine’s list of the best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.
Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises begins with Jake Barnes, the novel’s narrator and protagonist, describing a man named Robert Cohn. Cohn was born in New York City to a prosperous Jewish family. He encountered considerable anti-Semitism throughout his stay at Princeton and turned to boxing to alleviate his rage and loneliness. He quickly rose to prominence as the university’s middleweight champion. He married immediately after graduating and had three children. Cohn squandered a large portion of his inheritance, and his wife soon deserted him.
Cohn subsequently relocated to California, where he became acquainted with a literary crowd. He quickly fell in love with a gold-digging woman named Frances Clyne, who convinced him to accompany her to Paris to join the postwar exiles.
Cohn now resides in Paris and has become acquainted with the novel’s narrator, Jake Barnes. Cohn began writing while living in Paris and completed a novel lately.
He lives with his dominating girlfriend, who appears to be mainly interested in coercing him into marrying her.
Cohn flies to New York in search of an agent for his work. He has such an enjoyable journey that upon his return, he asks Jake if he would want to join him on another trip to South America. Cohn has been seized with wanderlust and is suddenly concerned that he is not fully living his life.
Jake is hesitant to travel and wishes to keep his pal away for the time being. He asserts that Cohn’s dissatisfaction with his life is not a result of his residence in Paris, but of his internal stagnation. He informs his pal that he cannot simply move away from his troubles.
Jake catches the eye of a lovely prostitute named Georgette after Cohn exits the establishment where Jake invited him for a drink. The two share a meal. Georgette approaches him and asks if he would want to accompany her home, but Jake declines, stating that he sustained a wound during the war that prevents him from having intercourse.
Georgette is upset by this, but Cohn and Frances approach them from an adjacent table and invite them all to go dancing together. The gang then makes their way to a hot and busy club, where they run into another friend, Lady Brett Ashley, a British socialite surrounded by a mob of young men. Jake becomes enraged at the men that encircle her and horrified at Brett’s amusement.
Jake indicates that the men are homosexuals, which he finds repulsive. Brett explains that she appreciates them because she feels “safely” intoxicated among them. When Cohn first meets Brett, he falls in love with her and attempts to convince her to dance with him. Jake and Brett leave the club together when he is unsuccessful.
Jake and Brett begin intense kissing as soon as they board a taxi together. Jake discloses to the reader that they are in love, but Brett will not be romantically involved with him due to Jake’s inability to have sex.
Brett admits that she views his injury as fated retribution for the pain she has subjected her former suitors to, while Jake claims that he rarely thinks about his combat wound and finds it amusing. The two proceed to a coffee, where they run into further acquaintances. They are introduced to a Greek Count named Mippipoplous by a man named Zizi, who appears to be interested in Brett.
Jake departs for home, vowing to meet Brett again the following day. Jake begins to consider his injuries upon his return home. He admits to receiving it while fighting in Italy and believes that others make a bigger deal of it than he does. He believes that if he had not met Brett, he would have been completely uninterested in sex.
He weeps himself to sleep and is awakened at 4:00 a.m. by Brett drunkenly attempting to enter his apartment.
Jake admits her, and Brett says that the Count offered her $10,000 to accompany him to Biarritz. She informs Jake that she has declined his request but that he is still outside waiting with his car. She implores Jake to accompany them and, when he declines, kisses him goodnight as they depart.
The following day, Cohn joins Jake for lunch at his office. Jake informs Cohn that Brett is an alcoholic and will very certainly marry a fellow wealthy man named Campbell. Brett’s first love died of dysentery during the war, and Jake says that he met her while she was volunteering at the hospital where he was admitted following his injury.
That evening, Jake attempts to meet Brett but is refused. He departs to meet with Cohn, and Frances requests a private meeting with him. She informs him that Cohn was not interested in marrying her. Jake makes an attempt to maintain his distance. She admits to being concerned that no one will marry her and that her spouse did not leave her with alimony. Additionally, her depression is exacerbated by the fact that no one will publish her writing.
When they rejoin Cohn, Frances informs Jake that Cohn gave her two hundred pounds in order to travel to England, but she had to wrench it from him. She furiously discusses the expected visits to friends in England and believes that Cohn is hesitating to marry her because he wishes to impress people by having a mistress.
Jake eventually excuses himself and returns home, exhausted by Frances’ diatribe. Brett and the Count await his arrival at his residence. He inquires as to why they cheated on him, and Brett says that she was so inebriated that she forgot.
Brett informs Jake that she is leaving Paris for Spain, believing that the move will benefit both of them.
The Count presents them with champagne and shares his life philosophy with Jake. He claims to have participated in seven wars and four revolutions and now appreciates everything to the fullest extent possible as a result of having lived so thoroughly. He claims to be perpetually in love with someone because he believes it is the most important aspect of life.
The gang goes to a club together, where Brett kisses Jake numerous times before shoving him away at the end of the night. Brett departs for Spain the following day, and Jake does not see her again for some time. Cohn departs Paris to see the countryside, while Frances travels alone to England.
Jake is visited by an American friend, Bill Gorton, and while they are out to supper together, Jake notices Brett exiting a cab. Jake invites Brett to drinks, unaware that she has returned to Paris. Brett agrees but departs early to meet Mike Campbell, the Scottish gentleman whom Jake suspects she will marry.
Jake and Bill decide to take a vacation to Spain. Prior to departing, Brett and Mike ask if they may accompany him, to which he accepts. Brett informs Jake that she met Cohn while in Spain and the two had a brief romance, which infuriates Jake. Jake and Bill ride the train to Bayonne, where they are greeted by Cohn.
Cohn is concerned that Jake will learn about his liaison with Brett. Jake, Bill, and Cohn drive to Pamplona to meet Brett and Mike, but quickly discover that they have not arrived due to Mike becoming unwell on the route. They were forced to make a pit stop in San Sebastian. Bill and Jake decide to continue their holiday by taking a bus to Burguete, but Cohn stays in Pamplona to await Brett and Mike.
Cohn admits his affair with Brett to Jake. Bill and Jake take a bus to Burguete, where they meet a bunch of Basques (the native people who inhabit the area of the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain). During the scenic journey through Spain’s countryside, the Basques demonstrate how to properly sip wine from a wineskin and engage them in polite discussion.
Bill and Jake are charged an outrageous fee upon their arrival in Burguete by the innkeeper at the inn where they are staying. The innkeeper explains that it is because it is the busy season, but the two men later discover that they are the only guests in the hotel at that time period.
Jake gets up early to dig for worms so they can go fishing. When he arrives to the hotel, Bill begins joking with him about being an expatriate, stating that everyone believes expatriates are alcoholics and poor writers. Bill continues by stating that some women believe Jake is impotent, to which Jake responds that he is not and that he simply had an accident.
The two make light of it, and Bill informs Jake that he adores him more than anyone else on the planet. He states that he is unable to inform him of this in New York due to the risk of being perceived as homosexual. Bill and Jake pack a lunch and set out for a day of fishing on the river. They two pals catch a large amount of fish and sit down for lunch. They joke about their wartime friends over lunch, and Bill asks Jake if he was ever in love with Brett. Jake asserts that he was for an extended period of time. They stop for a sleep by the river before returning to the hotel. Bill and Jake spend five days fishing and playing cards in Burguete but receive no communication from Cohn, Brett, or Mike.
Bill and Jake are reunited with Mike, Brett, and Cohn in Pamplona to watch the Running of the Bulls festival. The gang then proceeds to a cafe for a drink after viewing the bulls. Jake discovers that Cohn travelled to San Sebastian in search of Brett after he and Bill left Pamplona. Mike is now envious of Cohn and chastises him for failing to see when he is not welcome.
Bill escorts Cohn away, and Mike tells Jake that he would not mind Brett having an affair as long as Cohn was not Jewish and did not intend to stick around once she was clearly done with him. To alleviate tensions within the group, they consume copious amounts of alcohol at dinner, and Jake afterwards returns to his room in a state of inebriation. Jake overhears Mike and Brett laughing as they prepare to go to bed together and concludes that women make excellent friends because a man must be in love with a woman in order to be friends with her.
That is how he feels about Brett, but he is aware that he will eventually have to suffer in order to retain her friendship. He also believes he is pained by Mike’s argument with Cohn, but is relieved to see someone trash the man.
That Sunday marks the official start of the Running of the Bull celebration. The square comes to life with people celebrating and dancing.
A circle of people begins dancing around Brett, and Jake is dragged into the circle. Following that, the pals visit a wine shop, where Brett learns to drink wine from a wineskin and dons a garlic wreath around her neck. Jake eventually discovers Cohn’s disappearance and discovers him passed out in the rear of the business. Later, the gang shares a substantial dinner and Jake retires to his room alone.
The following morning, Jake is awakened by the explosion of a rocket signalling the start of the Running of the Bulls. Jake observes the Running from his balcony, and later with his pals, he observes the Bullfights from a vantage point high above the amphitheatre. The party observes Romero, a young celebrity bullfighter, as he takes the stage in the arena and dazzles everyone with his abilities. Brett is particularly taken with Romero, and Mike laughs afterwards that Brett might have fallen in love with him.
He informs Jake that bullfighters are renowned for abusing their mothers. Jake meets his friends in the hotel dining area the following morning. Romero, the bullfighter, is also present, sharing a dinner with a reporter. Jake discusses bullfighting with Romero. Jake regards Romero as modest but devoted to his work, and he appreciates the boy’s companionship. Brett is adamant that Jake introduce Romero to the group, and when he does, he discovers that his pals are all extremely inebriated.
Brett is the only one who is sober, and he begins speaking privately with Romero. Cohn and Mike have another altercation, and Jake wonders if Cohn is genuinely enjoying the drunken antics. Brett informs Jake that she wishes to spend some alone time with him on the final day of the festival, as many tourists come in town. She expresses her dissatisfaction with Mike and Cohn’s behaviour. Brett quickly inquires as to whether Jake still loves her, and he confirms that he does. Brett admits to being attracted in Romero and admits to feeling dishonest about it.
Jake agrees to accompany Brett on his search for Romero, and while they are doing so, he chats with his bullfighter buddies. Brett and Romero go together, abandoning Jake. Jake runs into Mike and Bill at a bar, where they were on the verge of being ejected for fighting again. Cohn locates the others and insists that Jake inform him of Brett’s whereabouts, and Mike confirms that she and Romero have separated.
This enrages Cohn, who refers to Jake as a pimp. Jake swings at Cohn, and a brawl ensues, with Mike joining in. Cohn knocks Jake unconscious. When Jake regains consciousness, he returns to his room and discovers Cohn crying in his bed. Cohn expresses regret for punching Jake and begs for forgiveness. Jake extends his forgiveness and shakes his hand.
The following day, while watching the bullfight, Jake discovers that Cohn tracked down Brett and Romero and attacked Romero. Brett shouted at Cohn, and Romero struck him, knocking him unconscious. Mike admits that he informed Brett that he no longer wanted her to associate with Cohn, and Brett stated that she was miserable. She informed him that her former husband, Lord Ashley, had abused her and that she is fed up with British nobility.
Cohn departs Pamplona the following day. Brett informs everyone that Romero is pretty sore from his battle with Cohn, but that he intends to participate in the bull fight set for that day nonetheless. Mike becomes enraged when he discovers Brett is still seeing Romero and overturns a cafe table. Brett yanks Jake away from Brett. They return to the hotel, where Jake retires to his room while Brett makes his way to Romero’s.
They group—minus Mike—reconvene for the final bullfight. Romero hands his cape to Brett to hold throughout the fight. Romero performs flawlessly, like he always does, during the bull fight, and after killing the bull, he offers Brett one of the bull’s ears.
Later that day, Brett and Romero board a train together and depart town. Jake and Bill have a drink in a cafe, and Jake discovers Mike in his hotel room, inebriated.
Mike, Bill, and Jake return to Bayonne the following day. Mike gets dropped off in Saint Jean de Luz after Bill leaves them at the train station. Jake makes his way to Bayonne, then to San Sebastian. Not shortly after he arrives, he receives two telegrams from Brett informing him that she requires his assistance and that she is “in trouble.”
Jake visits Brett in Madrid and she greets him with a kiss. She informs him that she has sent Romero but has summoned Jake out of concern that Romero could refuse to go if she asked him to. Romero proposed marriage to her but she refused and pushed him to leave.
She informs Jake that she wishes to reconcile with Mike. She and Jake go out for lunch, and Jake consumes copious amounts of alcohol. Brett cautions him not to get too intoxicated and assures him that he will be OK. Brett and Jake share a taxi, and she observes that they would have been a good match. Jake responds that it is “pretty to believe that”.