The Sun Also Rises

Themes and Colors
The Lost Generation Theme Icon
Sport Theme Icon
Masculinity and Insecurity Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Sun Also Rises, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Sport Theme Icon

From Robert Cohn the boxer to Pedro Romero the bullfighter, the characters of The Sun Also Rises compete and combat in various sporting events for honor and to impress the insatiable Brett. Whenever a trip is proposed, there is usually some sporting reason—Jake and Bill Gorton travel to Spain to fish, and the whole crowd is drawn to the bullfighting at the fiesta. Sport provides an escape for Jake and his friends from what they see as the meaninglessness of the rest of their lives. Sports have rules, and those rules define winners and losers, define beauty and skill.

And yet, like World War I erupting from the carefully balanced tensions of Europe in the 1910s, for the characters of The Sun Also Rises, the matches spill over from the arenas onto the streets of Pamplona, into the bars and cafes. Violence that should be controlled becomes threatening. A man is killed by a bull outside Pedro Romero's bullfight. And the male characters' competition over the careless, rule-breaking Brett turns them into sportsmen of sorts, competitors for her love. Rules, tactics, and victories in the form of insults or emotional injuries become "moves" in the game of social power. When Robert Cohn boxes at Princeton, he refuses to fight anyone outside of the ring. He follows the rules of sport and honor. But as Robert becomes unhinged by his obsession with Brett, he starts a brawl.

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Sport ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Sport appears in each chapter of The Sun Also Rises. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Sport Quotes in The Sun Also Rises

Below you will find the important quotes in The Sun Also Rises related to the theme of Sport.
Chapter 1 Quotes
I mistrust all frank and simple people, especially when their stories hold together, and I always had a suspicion that perhaps Robert Cohn had never been middleweight boxing champion. – Jake
Related Characters: Jake Barnes (speaker), Robert Cohn
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 2 Quotes
"I can't stand it to think my life is going so fast and I'm not really living it."
"Nobody ever lives life all the way up except bull-fighters"
Cohn and Jake
Related Characters: Jake Barnes (speaker), Robert Cohn (speaker)
Related Symbols: Bullfighting
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes
Those who were aficionados could always get rooms even when the hotel was full. Montoya introduced me to some of them. They were always very polite at first, and it amused them very much that I should be American. Somehow it was taken for granted that an American could not have aficion. – Jake
Related Characters: Jake Barnes (speaker), Montoya
Related Symbols: Bullfighting
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 15 Quotes
At noon on Sunday, July 6th, the fiesta exploded. There was no other way to describe it. – Jake
Related Characters: Jake Barnes (speaker)
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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