The Sun Also Rises

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Jake's buddy from the war. A writer who moved back to America after the war, he is a joker, using humor to hide from and disguise the horrors of his experiences of the war. He goes along with the group, unattached to Brett but getting caught up in the romantic business anyway, alternately peace-making and joining in with the fighting.

Bill Gorton Quotes in The Sun Also Rises

The The Sun Also Rises quotes below are all either spoken by Bill Gorton or refer to Bill Gorton. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Scribner edition of The Sun Also Rises published in 1954.
Chapter 12 Quotes
"You're an expatriate. You've lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see. You hang around cafés."– Bill
Related Characters: Bill Gorton (speaker), Jake Barnes
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

Jake and Bill wake up in the small town of Burguete where they will be staying during their fishing trip, and as they are having their coffee, Bill launches into a humorous rant about American perceptions of expatriates.

Here, “soil” most directly refers to America, but it also connotes nature, meaning that Bill’s use of the word “expatriate” takes on an interesting double meaning—it seems to connect their departure from a nation (“country” in one sense) to a departure from the land itself (“country” in another sense). Out in nature, these two men find some sense of purpose, lost in the aimlessness of urban life: when they commit themselves to fishing, for example, their work provides tangible rewards. Bill opines that life in Paris promotes the opposite—laziness—and provides nothing but meaningless distractions. If the expatriates seem lost, it’s because they’ve lost touch with their roots, so to speak.

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Chapter 13 Quotes
It was like certain dinners I remember from the war. There was much wine, an ignored tension, and a feeling of things coming that you could not prevent happening. Under the wine I lost the disgusted feeling and was happy. It seemed they were all such nice people. – Jake
Related Characters: Jake Barnes (speaker), Robert Cohn, Lady Brett Ashley, Bill Gorton, Mike Campbell
Page Number: 151
Explanation and Analysis:

Jake concludes chapter 13 by referring to the first dinner between Brett, Mike, Robert, Bill, and Jake, after the group has seen a bullfight and tensions between Mike and Cohn have calmed. The war continues to be on Jake’s mind, even in the midst of fighting, partying, and foreign adventure. Nor can its damages be relegated to the distant past: Jake’s current love life is spoiled by the war, his favorite sport is compared to war, the war comes up in conversation with many of his companions, and now the group’s love rivalries seem in some ways analogous to life on the battlefield. Alcohol, as always, seems capable of providing an escape; drinking is a way for these travelers to numb their feelings and distort their perception of the present into something bearable, if only briefly.

Chapter 18 Quotes
"Well, it was a swell fiesta."
"Yes," I said; "something doing all the time."
"You wouldn't believe it. It's like a wonderful nightmare."
"Sure," I said. "I'd believe anything. Including nightmares."
Bill and Jake
Related Characters: Jake Barnes (speaker), Bill Gorton (speaker)
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:

After Romero’s triumphant bullfight, Bill and Jake go back to the hotel to eat, and in these lines acknowledge that the fiesta has ended. Reminiscent of how Jake struggles to really describe what the fiesta was like when it started (recall that for Jake there wasn’t any other way to describe it than as an “explosion”), Bill offers an oxymoron: the fiesta is a “wonderful nightmare”. Though it’s true that Bill seems to use the word “wonderful” gratuitously (see his description of the euro-trip in chapter 8), his description of the festival—at once awesome and frightening—contains real insight.

It seems to capture this central aspect of the festival, and, for that matter, of the novel: the meeting of positive and negative energy. Bullfighting is perhaps the most concrete example – man and nature collide in a spectacle of sport that brings great enjoyment, and yet finishes in the gruesome death of a beautiful creature. For many, this art is a “wonderful,” riveting sport, but there is no ignoring the nightmarish brutality of the bulls’ end.

We might also extend Bill’s phrase a “wonderful nightmare” to romance in The Sun Also Rises: love is, at once, intensely enjoyable and painful. By this point in the novel, love (specifically, the male characters’ love for Brett) has lifted and inspired a few men, and has also destroyed them, disrupting friendships along the way. Jake, perhaps more than anyone, seems to have experienced the nightmarish side of “wonderful” love. 

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Bill Gorton Character Timeline in The Sun Also Rises

The timeline below shows where the character Bill Gorton appears in The Sun Also Rises. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
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...Cohn, who says he's left Paris for the countryside. Meanwhile, Jake's friend and fellow veteran Bill Gorton arrives from the U.S. with plans to visit Budapest and Vienna and then to... (full context)
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Bill reports that he got so drunk in Vienna that he can't remember any of the... (full context)
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As they walk around Paris looking for a restaurant, Bill tells Jake about a man he was drinking with earlier in the day whose secret... (full context)
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...Sebastian. After Brett leaves, Jake comments that she is soon going to marry Mike and Bill jokes that he always meets girls in that stage of life. (full context)
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Bill and Jake eat dinner at a restaurant that's full of Americans, mainly because it has... (full context)
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Before going to meet Brett and Mike, Jake and Bill go for a walk. They cross the Seine and see Notre Dame cathedral from the... (full context)
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When Jake and Bill get to the bar, Brett introduces Mike as a drunkard. Mike is, in fact, drunk,... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...is looking forward to the fishing trip to Spain. Jake writes back that he and Bill will leave in five days and meet Cohn in Bayonne. (full context)
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...that Brett and Mike will be there too. Jake sets up the plan: Jake and Bill will take the train to Bayonne, where they will meet with Cohn and then head... (full context)
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Jake and Bill board the train to Bayonne the next morning. The train is very crowded, and when... (full context)
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As the train moves, Bill and Jake "watch the country" through the window. The fields are ripening and green. After... (full context)
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They meet Cohn at the station in Bayonne. He is shy around Bill, because he's read Bill's books. The three of them take a taxi to the Hotel... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...clear streams. Jake spots an old castle in the distance and points it out to Bill. Then, a big river comes into view and next, the skyline of Pamplona, its old... (full context)
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...a superior tone, that he doesn't think Brett and Mike will actually come to Pamplona. Bill and Jake respond by making a bet. Bill bets they'll arrive that evening. Cohn goes... (full context)
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When they return to the hotel, Bill asks if he can pay off the bet later. Cohn tells him to forget the... (full context)
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Back at the hotel, Bill says that Cohn told him all about the date with Brett, which makes Jake angry.... (full context)
Chapter 11
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The next morning, Jake and Bill leave Cohn behind and board a bus to go to a small rural town of... (full context)
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...the beautiful country of fields, farms, and "sudden green valleys," the Basques teach Jake and Bill the right way to drink from a wineskin. The bus stops in a town and... (full context)
Chapter 12
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The next morning, Jake wakes before Bill and goes outside, into the fresh early morning, finds a shed and a kind of... (full context)
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Back in the room, Bill says he saw Jake from the window and asks if he was burying his money.... (full context)
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Bill announces that he is more fond of Jake than he is of anyone else in... (full context)
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...green. They cross wilder and wilder streams and walk through a forest of beech trees. Bill exclaims, "This is country." (full context)
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...fish, and cleans and guts them right there. He finds them beautiful. Jake reads until Bill returns. He was fly-fishing and caught fish even bigger than Jake's (full context)
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...Finally, they agree that they are drunk and decide to nap. As they wind down, Bill asks Jake if he was ever in love with Brett. Jake admits that he was,... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Before departing, Jake and Bill go to a pub with Harris. They invite him to come to Pamplona with them,... (full context)
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Jake and Bill find the others at a bar across the square. Mike and Brett are wearing traditional... (full context)
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...fury, saying that Cohn is exactly like a steer with Brett, always following her around. Bill takes the upset Cohn for a walk to calm him down. Mike, meanwhile, says that... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...up, crowds line the wine shops and the churches. A banner proclaims "Hurray for Foreigners!" Bill comments to Jake that they are the foreigners. (full context)
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...and dancing, while Mike eating with some locals. Cohn, they tell him, has passed out. Bill says lightly that he thinks Cohn is dead. Jake finds Cohn in a back room,... (full context)
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The bullfights begin that afternoon. Jake and Bill sit close to the action, while Brett, Mike and Cohn sit further up in the... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Jake finds Bill, Mike and Bill's friend Edna hanging around outside a bar that they were thrown out... (full context)
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When Jake gets in to the hotel, Bill tells him that Cohn wants to see him. Jake doesn't want to, but finally gives... (full context)
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The next morning, Jake learns from a waiter at a café that Mike and Bill have already gone to the stadium to await the bullfighting. Soon the bulls are released... (full context)
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...and fails to sleep, he curses Cohn for believing in true love. Then Mike and Bill knock on the door. They tell him about what happened with Cohn after Jake left... (full context)
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Mike heads off to bed, and Bill soon follows. As Bill is leaving, Jake asks if Bill has heard about the man... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...next morning, Cohn has left Pamplona. Brett, looking beautiful but with shaking hands, meets Jake, Bill, and Mike at a café. She reports that Romero was badly hurt by Cohn last... (full context)
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...and repeats "Brett's got a bullfighter." Jake leaves him, and goes to have lunch with Bill before the last round of bullfights. (full context)
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After the bullfights, Jake and Bill have lunch at the hotel. Jake is feeling sad, and gives in to Bill's urging... (full context)
Chapter 19
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In the quiet of the sudden end of the fiesta, Mike, Bill, and Jake decide to share a cab to leave Pamplona. Montoya does not say goodbye.... (full context)
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...drop Mike at his hotel, where he tells them not to worry about money, and Bill catches his train. Jake watches the train leave, then goes back to the car. The... (full context)