The Sun Also Rises: Novel Summary: Book II – Chapters XIV – XV

Chapter XIV
Jake goes to bed early and hears Cohn say goodnight to Brett. He hears Brett enter Mikes hotel room and hears them laugh. He cannot sleep. He spends some time thinking about his friendship with Brett and how he is now paying for that friendship-forced to listen, it would seem, to their lovemaking.
Jake spends some time describing the preparation for the bullfights, including the maintenance of the ring, the preparation for the running of the bulls, and so on. Things seem to be peaceful, as no one in the group drinks, and they spend much of their time sitting in the caf watching people. Brett comes to church with Jake, and asks to hear him confess, which he says would be impossible. Cohn follows them, but he is amiable and accompanies them on a walk to the gypsy camp outside of town, where Brett has her fortune told.
Chapter XV
Jake describes the start of the fiesta, and the vast crowds of people who suddenly appear at the sound of the rocket fired into the air to signal the beginning of the fiesta. He and Cohn are sitting in the caf when it begins, and he describes the rapid gathering of people in the arcade and the parade of dancers and fife-players. Jake says that the drinking, dancing, and noise continue for seven days, and that things become quite unreal and it seems like nothing that happens can have consequences.
They try to enter the chapel to watch the religious portion of the fiesta, but are turned away because Brett has no hat. Back out in the streets, the dancers congregate around her and start dancing. Jake and Bill are brought into the circle around her, and eventually they are all brought into a wine-shop. The dancers are buying wine and trying to involve Brett and Bill in their fun and drinking. Jake leaves to buy some wineskins, and brings back two, one large and one small. He has them filled at the wine-shop, and finds Bill and Brett. Mike has joined them, and is eating tuna fish with the dancers. Jake asks where Cohn is, and Mike says that he is passed out somewhere. Mike asks the dancer to show Jake, and Jake is brought to Cohn, sleeping in a back room on some wine-casks. They let him sleep for two more hours, when he rejoins the group and asks about dinner.
They go back to the hotel for dinner, and Jake ends up sleeping in Cohns room because he cant find the key to his own room. He is awakened by the rocket used to announce the release of the bulls through the streets. He gets to a balcony in time to watch the running of the bulls.
Cohn wakes Jake up when he comes back from the ring where the bulls have been put in pens. Jake asks about the bulls running through the people at the ring, and Cohn says that six or seven people were tossed by a bull. They all go to bed and sleep until noon, when they try to get a seat in the caf. Jake has two sets of tickets in groups of three, one in the middle and one in the front row. Mike, Brett, and Cohn sit in the middle seats, and Bill and Jake sit in the front row apart from them. Cohn worries aloud that he might be bored. Bill tells him he shouldnt worry. Jake tells Brett not to watch what happens to the horses because it is unpleasant.
Jake and Bill go back to the hotel to get the wineskins and the field glasses. Bill mentions the annoyance of Cohn worrying about being bored. At the hotel they find Montoya, and he offers to introduce them to Pedro Romero, one of the bullfighters. They enter his room while he is being dressed for the fight. Montoya introduces Jake and Bill as great aficionados, and Romero asks a question in English. They hurry back to the ring to watch the fight.
At the bullfight, Jake notices that Montoya is close by. They watch Romero fight, and Montoya turns to Jake and nods. Jake remarks that Romero is a “real one,” a great bullfighter of the quality that has become uncommon.
Afterward, Bill and Jake fight through the crowd back to the caf, where they are joined by the others. Mike and Brett mention Romero, and Brett says that she likes his green trousers. Bill asks Cohn if it bored him, and Cohn replies by asking to be forgiven for saying that. Mike starts making fun of him for looking sick when the first horse was killed by a bull. Cohn admits that he was a little sickened by the first horse. Mike picks up on Bills annoyance and asks a few more times if Cohn had been bored. He mentions that Cohn called Brett a sadist for not getting sick at the sight of the first horse being killed. Bill changes the subject. Brett asks if she can sit in the front next time.
At the second bullfight, Brett, Jake, and Mike sit in the front. Jake explains the actions of the various players in the fight to her so that she understands the purpose, and tries to help her appreciate what is happening. Jake also helps explain the things that Romero does well and how he differs from the other bullfighters that day. Mike steps into the conversation and jokes that Brett seems to be falling in love with Romero, and that Jake should stop talking about him.
Analysis, Chapters XIV – XV
These chapters start to establish the atmosphere for the climax of the novel. Bretts strange treatment by the dancers, as an object to be danced around, and her failure to enter the chapel mark her as a strange and important part of their company. The bullfight, and the unloading of the bulls becomes an important contrast to the interactions among the group. That Cohn might be compared to a steer becomes literal in the text; the real question that Mike does not answer is who is the bull? This parallel also suggests a relationship between the later bullfights and the dynamics of the group. Yet Romero, unlike any of the group, is a “real one,” and much more real than anything else in the atmosphere of unreality established in the descriptions of the fiesta.