The Sun Also Rises

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The Sun Also Rises Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next day is rainy, foggy, and dull. Jake is in his room when Montoya enters and asks for some advice – Romero has been asked to have dinner with the American ambassador. Jake understands immediately that Montoya believes that Romero will be ruined by getting involved with America. He advises Montoya not to give Romero the message, and they agree that such a boy shouldn't "mix with that stuff."
The need to preserve Romero as the symbol of pure masculinity is important to both Montoya and Jake. As such, they feel they have to protect him from the world, from money, from women, so that Romero can focus on bullfighting.
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Jake finds his friends eating dinner. They are too drunk now for him to catch up, and so he goes over instead to Romero, who's eating with a bullfighting critic. They all speak a little bit of different languages and translate back and forth. Romero tells his life story, how he learned bullfighting in Malaga. Romero is anxious not to seem arrogant, but is also passionate and proud: he says he will show them both how good he is during his fight tomorrow.
The bullfight connects men of different occupations and languages just like the war did. Jake is drawn to it, and at the same time repelled by the old empty pursuits of his friends. Romero is a true man—passionate, skillful, and knowledgeable, confident but humble.
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Brett and Mike shout to Jake from across the room. Mike wants him to tell Romero that "bulls have no balls," while Brett asks to be introduced. Jake apologizes for his friends' drunkenness, but does introduce them, explaining that two of them are writers while Mike is waiting to marry Brett. Mike, meanwhile, tells Romero in English, which Romero doesn't understand, about Brett's crush. The others quiet him. They all toast to Pedro Romero, then Pedro moves on and Brett exclaims again how lovely he looks.
Mike, in contrast to Jake, feels only threatened by Romero and therefore tries to take him down a few notches with his bluster. But bluster won't affect someone like Romero (just as it probably wouldn't have affected a young Mike). At this point, Romero literally does not understand Brett's crush on him—he is still pure.
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Mike now once again starts to insult Cohn, shouting at him to go away, begging him to see when he isn't wanted, and asking Jake to back him up in his assessment of Cohn. Mike and Cohn are on the brink of fighting, until Jake finally drags Mike out.
Mike transfers his insecurity driven anger towards Cohn, the usual scapegoat. Mike feels weak, so he attacks someone seemingly weaker.
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As the last day of the fiesta approaches, English and American tourists pour into the town. Bill runs into a friend of his named Edna, and he and Mike decide to go off and make fun of the English tourists. Brett decides to stay behind. Cohn tries to stay with her, but she snaps at him to get going because she wants to talk alone with Jake.
Bill and Mike pick on the English as foreigners, but they themselves are foreigners. The group wants to belong to the bullfight society but their identities are all mixed up. Cohn, meanwhile, continues to try to be with Brett, not really understanding that it isn't returned.
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When they're alone, Brett complains to Jake about Mike and Cohn's behaviors, both of which she finds disgusting. Jake defends Mike, saying how hard it's been on Mike to have Cohn around, but she begs him not to "be difficult."
Brett sees any neediness or insecurity as gross. Even though he feels such things, Jake never displays them before Brett. But note how Brett refuses to face it when Jake vaguely places some of the blame on her for Mike's behavior, since is the reason Cohn is there at all.
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Brett and Jake take a walk to the old fortifications around the town. Brett asks Jake if he still loves her. When he says he does, she then tells him that she is "mad about the Romero boy." She apologizes for being a "bitch," but says "I've got to do something I really want to do. I've lost my self-respect."
Brett treats Jake's love of her like something that allows her to get him to do what she wants. And it does! Further, notice that Brett hasn't lost her self-respect because of how she's acted. She's lost her self-respect because she hasn't yet acted on her feelings about Romero. Though she knows it means that she will act like a "bitch," she can only respect herself when she is doing what she wants.
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Jake agrees to help, and they go to a café where Romero is sitting with other bullfighters and critics. Jake predicts that Romero will come over to see them, and sure enough he does. He accepts Jake's invitation to sit. The attraction between Romero and Brett is immediately obvious: Brett playfully holds his hand and reads his fortune. Jake then translates as they talk about bullfighting. Romero says the bulls are his best friends. When Brett asks if he kills his friends, he says he does, so they don't kill him.
Jake once more, because of his love for Brett, sacrifices himself. Now, for Brett, he betrays that stance, betrays the purity of the bullfighting for which he is so passionate, because of his love for Brett. Romero's comments about friends put starkly what the novel has been showing all around: friends are also rivals.
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Jake leaves Brett and Romero at the table, and as he does so he notices that bullfighters and critics with whom Romero was speaking earlier look at him disapprovingly. When Jake returns a little later, Romero and Brett are gone.
Jake does more than sacrifice his own love for Brett. Earlier he agreed with Montoya that Romero must be protected in order to preserve his innocence, and passion for bullfighting. Now, in the disapproving stares of the bullfighters, it becomes clear that Jake has willingly sacrificed the purity and passion of bullfighting to please Brett.
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