Yes, That is a Roll of Bills in My Pocket:
The Economy of Masculinity in The Sun Also Rises
Jacob Michael Leland
A great deal of critical attention has been paid to masculine agency and its displacement in Ernest Hemingway's fiction. The story is familiar by now: the Hemingway hero loses some version of his maleness to the first World War, and he replaces it with a tool—in Upper Michigan, a fishing rod or a pocketknife; in Africa, a hunting rifle—a new object that emblematizes his mastery over his surroundings and whose status as a fetishized commodity and Freudian symbolic significance is something less than subtle. In The Sun Also Rises, this pattern repeats itself, but with important differences that arise from the novel's cosmopolitan European setting. Mastery over the elements, here, has more to do with economic agency and control over social relationships than with nature and survival. The stakes are different, too; in the modern European city, the Hemingway hero recovers not only masculinity but also American identity in social and sexual interaction.
In The Sun Also Rises, the mechanisms of relocation and recovery appear somewhat peculiarly; Jake Barnes depends upon earning and spending practices to establish an American, male, expatriate identity in Paris. He attributes little value to the things he buys; his ownership of commodities is secondary to his relationship with the money form itself. The power that tools make concrete for other Hemingway heroes is, in The Sun Also Rises, less tangible but no less identifiable: Jake Barnes exercises spending power. To make money and to circulate it, rather than to possess a valued object, [End Page 37] allows Jake to imagine himself as a fully realized male and an agent of U.S. economic power, in control of the modernizing marketplaces he inhabits.
At the opening of Chapter 5 of The Sun Also Rises, Paris is a city whose public space has become a tourist's showplace. Although commodities and advertisements surround Jake Barnes, he is not a tourist and they are not intended for him; literally as well as figuratively, he does not buy what they sell:
I passed the man with the jumping frogs and the man with the boxer toys. I stepped aside to avoid walking into the thread with which his girl assistant manipulated the boxers. She was standing looking away, the thread in her folded hands. The man was urging two tourists to buy. Three more tourists had stopped and were watching. I walked on behind a man who was pushing a roller that printed the name cinzano on the sidewalk in damp letters. All along people were going to work. It felt pleasant to be going to work.
Advertising and tourism both characterize urban space and organize people into types in this description; they appear either as advertising's agents—the man with the jumping frogs, the man with the boxer toys, the man pushing the roller—or its objects. Jake's further distinction, though, speaks precisely to how he imagines his own role as an American in Paris. He divides the objects of advertising into "tourists" and "people going to work," and locates himself firmly in the second category. This opposition defines tourists as people who do not go to work, writing Jake Barnes's time, place, and role in Paris in economic terms. As a working person, Jake is a full-fledged member of the Parisian economy with a stake in both ends of the circulation of money and commodities. In "going to work," Jake makes money in Europe that he will spend there, which classifies him as an expatriate writer and not a tourist.
While tourists in Paris stop and stare, people go to work "along" the scene he describes, commuting outside the dialogue of this particular marketplace. Although there is surely a certain resonance to his following in the footsteps (and, presumably, the wet paint) of a liquor ad—the boundaries of commercialism[End Page 38] are perhaps wider than he notices—the other selling techniques that take place do not delay or even distract Jake. Even his obvious interest in the roller printing CINZANO on the sidewalk characterizes Jake's body as one in motion, not one brought to a standstill in attention to an advertisement. He has seen this particular set of advertisements enough times that he refers to its agents with the instead of a. In this simple choice of words, it is clear that the advertisements along the boulevard appear not as sights that depart from the norm and merit individual attention but as the norm itself, part of the landscape. Jake's familiarity with the city becomes an authority that allows him to see through the ruses of advertising: the "girl assistant" presumably stands with her arms folded to conceal her manipulation of the puppets' thread, but Jake already knows well enough to avoid her. Trinkets for tourists do not delay Jake Barnes, they are not the kind of thing he buys.
The question, then, for an essay on the function of currency, spending practice, and expatriate identity in The Sun Also Rises, is what and how he does buy. Scott Donaldson has famously proposed that Jake's financial practices correspond to his moral code-that his strict accounting establishes him as the novel's moral compass. Michael Reynolds, though, complicates this notion in The Sun Also Rises: A Novel of the Twenties when he observes that Jake spends more money than his lifestyle (as we see it) seems to warrant. Chapter Four informs us that Jake has drawn four checks, for a total of six hundred dollars (the opening balance of $2,432.60 minus the closing balance of $1,832.60), since the first of the month. His maintaining a balance of almost two thousand dollars, as Donaldson notes, characterizes Jake Barnes as something like frugal, but Reynolds demonstrates that this is not the case. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index, the 600 dollars Jake Barnes spends (twice Robert Cohn's extravagant maternal allowance, to keep the novel's own economic score) in 1926 was worth $6271.19 in 2003. 1 Moreover, it was relatively cheap to live in Paris in the 1920s. R.F. Wilson's 1925 guideParis on Parade held that "for $2500 a year [$26,428.57 in 2003] in Paris one can live in a comfortable hotel, take tea at the smart places two or three times a week, spend winter in Florence or on the Riviera, and summer on the Brittany beaches or in Switzerland" (Reynolds 80). Wilson's guide was not for tourists vacationing in Paris, but for expatriates like Jake Barnes, Americans interested in a yearly budget that allowed for vacations from Paris. Jake's monthly budget nearly triples Wilson's allowance. [End Page 39]
Reynolds's meticulous reading of Jake's bookkeeping is most valuable for its attention to currency in the novel. Although, as Reynolds points out, Jake's work to maintain a substantial account balance is "an American virtue in the Franklin tradition" (78), he also spends something like three months' worth of money in the space of a single bank statement, right before he takes a vacation; Franklin would almost certainly disapprove. Reynolds understands this apparent extravagance as a marker of the importance of money in the novel: Jake leaves unnarrated whatever it is that he has received for all this money, but not how much money he's spent or in how many installments. The novel invites the reader to fill in this gap in its economy— if not to account mathematically for Jake's missing expenses, then to understand the gap as a Hemingway code that requires readerly unpacking.
When he outspends R.F. Wilson's traveler, Jake Barnes works toward the consumer identity ascendant in the 1920s, forming a new, distinctly non-Franklinian idea of "American virtue." The U.S. economy had, of course, shifted since Franklin's time to replace agriculture with industry, a primarily domestic marketplace with an international one, use value with exchange value, and production with consumption. The Sun Also Rises demonstrates that, correspondingly, social life replaced thrifty personal responsibility with performative, educated spending as a touchstone of national identity.
Jake Barnes balances his checkbook at night, wakes up in the morning, and goes to work through the street scene that begins this essay, without buying commodities that surround him. The simple procedures of spending and earning that required accounting are thus juxtaposed with strategies of commerce and advertising in the urban marketplace; Jake's careful attention to the first is brought into sharp relief against his indifference toward the second. Clearly, then, it is not toward objects themselves, or even accumulation and possession, that Jake's spending strives. This is apparent when Bill Gorton's exhortations in Chapter Thirteen to buy a stuffed dog fall on deaf ears. Bill describes a "simple exchange of values. You give them money. They give you a stuffed dog" (SAR78) in equally simple language, but the whole enterprise holds no real allure for Jake, who does not locate value in things like stuffed dogs or boxing marionettes. Jake is a social spender; he spends his money on activities (things like food and drink, telegrams, train tickets, bullfights) and on services (tipping waiters, concierges and taxi drivers). Riding taxis as regularly as Jake does, for that matter, was an extravagance in Paris in the 1920s, when public transportation[End Page 40] was certainly viable; the economic terms of his role in Paris condition his methods of moving about the city.
Jake's expenditures point directly to his class; his tips and choices support a service economy in the countries he travels through. He spends money not to get things but to establish his social position, to define his relationships with other people. This much is clear in his description of the difference between France and Spain in Chapter 19:
Everything is on such a clear financial basis in France. It is the simplest country to live in. No one makes things complicated by becoming your friend for any obscure reason. If you want people to like you you have only to spend a little money. I spent a little money and the waiter liked me. He appreciated my valuable qualities... It would be a sincere liking because it would have a sound basis.
Here, Jake's spending habits stem from what he thinks of as a sophisticated understanding of French social relations. The words "friend" and "like," in their simplicity multivalent and often ironic throughout the novel, are simply inaccurate here. The waiter does not like him; the waiter needs his money and is willing to perform a "sincere liking" in the service of Jake's "valuable qualities." Quality, for this waiter, is based upon monetary value; class status and economic circumstance dictate the terms of their social interactions. As an expatriate, Jake defines and differentiates foreign citizenries by how his working counterparts react to his money thrown their way. His largesse inscribes Jake Barnes as the "good traveler"—again, expatriate, rather than tourist. Moreover, it defines the waiters, cab drivers, and concierges who react properly (or not) as a servant class, further codifying the economy into which Jake's money flows.
In general, Jake's consumerism is in the service of participation in the rituals of masculinity, creating his particular identity as a gentleman and aficionado. He (literally) buys into, or invests in, the rituals of an expatriate "Hemingway hero" of the kind who, in the first chapter of A Moveable Feast, writes of the prospect of making a fire in his fireplace, "I thought about how the chimney would be cold and might not draw and of the room possibly filling with smoke, and the fuel wasted, and the money gone with it, and I [End Page 41] walked on in the rain" (4). Here, Hemingway cannot afford to buy firewood to heat his pension, so he goes to a good café on the Place St.-Michel to write—and buys one café au lait, two rums St. James, a dozen oysters, and a half-carafe of white wine (MF5-6). Clearly, what appears here is not Franklinian thriftiness but rather expatriate performance: spending his money on public consumption instead of domestic improvements.
Constructing a masculine identity from these economic priorities is more complicated in Jake Barnes's case than in most, though; his project includes compensating (to borrow Donaldson's term) for his sexual disability. This, perhaps, is part of what blows his budget out of his contemporaries' proportions: he simply has more to buy than the travel guides anticipate. Of course, this essay does not intend to account for Jake's expenses in the service of his performative masculinity and find the missing 600 dollars, but rather to pay close attention to those expenses that are inexplicable any other way. Because the war has compromised his ability to perform sexually, Jake recovers that power and agency on economic terms.
The most obvious instance of Jake Barnes purchasing a claim to masculine identity is the end of his date with Georgette, when it costs him money not to sleep with a prostitute. In their 1987 essay "Decoding the Hemingway Hero in The Sun Also Rises," Arnold and Cathy Davidson focus on Jake's "keeping up appearances" and equate his paying for what they call services "discreetly not rendered" to the dances that Brett has with the gay men whom they call her "boys." Like Jake Barnes arriving with Georgette and leaving without her, they argue, the gay men who dance with Brett and Georgette publicly switch partners in order to perform a normative (hetero)sexuality. To claim as the Davidsons do that "the switch in partners suggests, like swinging, the fundamental equivalence of different pairings" (90), neglects the very material disparity that the novel itself highlights: Jake pays money to go home with Brett rather than Georgette. Deflected sexuality is common to all participants in the switch at the end of the night, but only Jake uses hard currency to mask his deflection; this is not an equivalence, fundamental or otherwise. Just as queerness is fundamentally different from injury and amputation, dancing with a woman is fundamentally different from paying one to go home alone.
To keep Georgette from proclaiming his impotence, to appear masculine outside his circle of friends, is itself a commodity for Jake Barnes. Not simply a service differently rendered, what Georgette provides is the mechanism [End Page 42] to produce an image: her silence is part and parcel of the appearance that Jake buys. Thus, when Brett tells him, "you're going to lose your fifty francs" (31), she has misunderstood the significance of the transaction. Georgette's silence determines and so is equivalent to Jake's outward masculinity, which is worth fifty francs to him. He does not lose his money; he spends it and he receives what he sets out to purchase—the appearance, if not the performance, of masculine sexual agency-a simple exchange of values. For Jake Barnes, masculinity rests not in commodities proper, but rather in his relationship to the money form; spending money allows him to "keep up appearances."
Jake Barnes's sexuality, then, is a commodity, with exchange-value but not use-value. He pays Brett's way and buys her things as a sort of mating ritual that he is ultimately incapable of completing. This is not the "simple exchange of values" that Bill Gorton talks about; Brett is not a prostitute. It is certainly a relationship based on payment, but Jake realizes (or acknowledges) in Chapter 14, when Brett comes up the stairs with Robert Cohn and goes into Mike Campbell's room, that his method of payment is (or ultimately will be) inadequate:
I had not been thinking about her side of it. I had been getting something for nothing. That only delayed the presentation of the bill. The bill always came. That was one of the swell things you could count on.
I thought I had paid for everything. Not like the woman pays and pays and pays. No idea of retribution or punishment. Just exchange of values. You gave up something and got something else.
The phrase "exchange of values," reappears here with just in place of simple, emphasizing the neatly commodified nature of Jake and Brett's relationship: the entire thing is an object for consumption. Like the stuffed dog whose purchase Bill Gorton first describes in these terms—which provides the idea, but importantly not the experience, of canine devotion and companionship—Jake's relationship to Brett is a signifier divorced from its referent, the appearance of heteronormative relations without sex itself. In "Sign the Wire with Love," George Cheatham characterizes the shift in this rewriting as one from "simple exchanges...[which are] artless, open, guileless, [End Page 43] innocent, humble, wretched, silly, foolish exchanges" to "just exchanges ...[which are] equitable exchanges, legal, correct, proper, exact, accurate, uniform" (105). The rules for payment in this particular "just exchange," though, gain a certain fluidity insofar as they are sexually coded and propose his eventual inability to fulfill the contract. Jake thought he had paid for everything, in the past tense. He realizes in this instant that he has not, because to give up something and get something else is not the nature of the transaction; the idea of retribution and punishment, of paying and paying and paying, finally enters into his understanding of the enterprise. The tone of the passage, too, suggests an anticipated defeat; he can only delay presentation of the bill, not actually pay it now or later—which inability manifests itself at the conclusion of the novel, when Jake goes to pick up Brett.
His telegram in response to her dual pleas for help effectively surrenders the consumer's authority that he spends so skillfully to manufacture. His analysis of the telegram that he sends is: "That seemed to handle it. That was it. Send a girl off with one man. Introduce her to another to go off with him. Now go and bring her back. And sign the wire with love. That was it all right" (SAR243). Including the word love forces Jake to compromise his own (previously established) expertise in the literal economy of language that functions in telegraphic communication. That is to say: in a telegram, words cost money, which obviously augments the importance of using fewer words to express more meaning. Earlier, in Chapter 13, Jake is vitriolic about Robert Cohn's three-word telegram "Vengo Jueves Cohn"; he says Cohn "could send ten words for the same price" (132-133). Cohn's general failure to spend his money properly, Walter Benn Michaels has shown, marks him racially as a Jew. Though in this case Cohn does not conform to the most familiar stereotype of the miserly or parsimonious Jew—he spends too much money, not too little, which is perhaps a greater transgression in a Hemingway novel—it is nonetheless important to note that economic practice is the clearest indicator of his ethnic difference. Cohn fails to recognize the economic imperatives of the American abroad, and thus excludes himself from the American consumer identity that the novel forges for Jake Barnes.
The telegram Jake sends to Brett, though, reproduces Cohn's economic shortcomings with an important difference. Jake's telegram, "LADY ASHLEY HOTEL MONTANA MADRID ARRIVING SUD EXPRESS TOMORROW LOVE JAKE" (SAR243) is eleven words long—he has to pay more and he could presumably have sent fifteen or twenty for the same price. He is guilty of the same [End Page 44] misguided spending that Cohn is, only worse and not only because Cohn's telegram is at least a complete sentence. To extend Michaels's formulation that, in The Sun Also Rises, "the economic meaning of the term [Jew] is so removed from its racial roots that you don't have to be Jewish to be a Jew and being Jewish isn't enough to make you one" (Our America 9), Jake Barnes produces his own national-economic otherness with this telegram. He no longer conforms to the rules and practices that define the national-sexual-economic identity he constructs.
Jake's "handling" of the situation he credits himself with creating demonstrates an inability to use money effectively to express his control; instead he wastes it expressing an emotion. To overpay for an expression or performance in language of heterosexual desire, rather than a physical act thereof, certainly fits the pattern that Jake Barnes establishes for himself. The word love, though, which he thinks is "it all right," is of the type that the novel consistently and emphatically devalues. It belongs to the same category as friend, nice or like—words this novel divorces from their conventional meanings and devalues angrily from start to finish. Michaels writes that, in The Sun Also Rises, "'Breeding' is the term used by people who don't have any; 'nice' is the term used by people who do" (26). Love, then, is surely another kind of euphemism in the novel's code—for Jake to employ it here demonstrates that he has lost fluency either with that code or with the imperative of that other American writer in Paris to "write one true sentence." Jake's familiarity with the way things work in Europe—the mastery of environment common to Hemingway heroes—is obscured by the language of sexuality.
In the scheme of the novel, Jake's trip to rescue Brett entirely compromises the sexual power of economic practice that he works to establish. He is finally presented with the bill he cannot pay at the Hotel Montana in Madrid, and the situation is in fact worse than he initially imagines it: "The woman who ran the hotel would not let me pay the bill. The bill had been paid" (SAR247). The power that Jake gets from spending money is not only incomplete but also conditional, dependent upon maleness being for sale. When the bill has been paid, in the passive voice, Jake is grammatically disempowered, surely the worst death a Hemingway writer-hero can die. Rather than play the role he has constructed for himself and pay Brett's way once again, he is beaten to the punch, and the cash register, by someone without a specific identity—or more precisely, without the need to make that identity known. This anonymous economic power is not a performative [End Page 45] one as Jake's is; whoever pays Brett's bill has no need for whatever appearance accompanies that act. The transaction is concerned more with the use value of settling a purely monetary debt than with the sexual capital or exchange value of coming to Lady Ashley's aid. Paying the bill anonymously prevents Jake from exercising his economic agency and calls attention to the limits of that power in a situation that requires money but not performative social currency. Jake Barnes's wallet, along with the American expatriate masculinity it affords him, ultimately stays in his pants.
1 . The CPI is not a perfect formula for this discussion, but should give us a general idea of the inflation at work here.
Cheatham, George. "Sign the Wire with Love." Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises: A Casebook. Ed. Linda Wagner-Martin. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 99-106.
Cost Models-CPI Inflation Calculator. United States Department of Labor. http://www.jsc.nasa. gov/bu2/inflateCPI.html .
Davidson, Arnold E. and Cathy N. "Decoding the Hemingway Hero in The Sun Also Rises." New Essays on The Sun Also Rises. Ed. Linda Wagner-Martin. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1987. 83-107.
Donaldson, Scott. "Hemingway's Morality of Compensation." American Literature43:3 (November 1971): 399-420.
Hemingway, Ernest. A Moveable Feast. New York: Scribner's, 1964.
——. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Scribner's, 1926.
Michaels, Walter Benn. Our America: Nativism, Modernism, and Pluralism. Durham: Duke UP, 1995.
Reynolds, Michael S. The Sun Also Rises: A Novel of the Twenties. New York: G.K. Hall, 1988.
Reading Around Jake's Narration:
Brett Ashley and The Sun Also Rises
Lorie Watkins Fulton
The University of Southern Mississippi
Contradiction lies at the heart of The Sun Also Rises. This is apparent before the narrative action even begins; Hemingway pairs Gertrude Stein's famed phrase about the "lost" post-war generation with the very different verse from Ecclesiastes emphasizing regeneration. The novel begins with a two-part epigraph at odds with itself. Hemingway's plot also turns on contradictory notions. In this story that he considered a tragedy, everyone celebrates but no one finds true happiness. Through the seemingly pointless pursuit of pleasure, each character searches for meaning in a post-war world that denies the possibility of any sort of meaning at all. Most paradoxically, the novel's protagonist, Jake Barnes, tries to define himself as a man even as a war-related genital wound denies him the most basic assertion of manhood, sexual gratification. Given this depth of contradiction, it seems odd that critics have taken Brett Ashley, the novel's other major character, at face value for so long. Brett is one of Hemingway's richest female characters; her personality gradually emerges as an intriguing mix of femininity and masculinity, strength and vulnerability, morality and dissolution. Yet after Edmund Wilson first tagged her as "an exclusively destructive force" (238), his perception, for the most part, remained unchallenged for decades.
Following Wilson's lead, critics quickly labeled Brett as a "bitch." Members of what Roger Whitlow terms the "Brett-the-bitch" (51) school of criticism [End Page 61] include Leslie Fiedler, who describes Brett as a "demi-bitch" (319), John Aldridge, who calls her a "compulsive bitch" (24), and, more recently, Mimi Gladstein, who labels her as part "bitch-goddess" (61). Even those who shy away from the actual term "bitch" tend to delineate Brett in other destructive ways. For example, in demonstrating differences between Brett and her real-life counterpart in this roman à clef, Duff Twysden, Bertram D. Sarason glibly brands Brett as a woman "who made castration her hobby" (10). A few of the more sympathetic, yet still fundamentally conflicted readings of Brett try to excuse her behavior as a result of her putative pursuit of self-destruction. Whitlow maintains that Brett "is a self-induced 'sufferer,' but [...] she is not a bitch" because nymphomania motivates her self-destructive actions (58). In "Women and the Loss of Eden in Hemingway's Mythology," Carol H. Smith does not use the term "nymphomania," but states that Brett "hopes to find in the drug of sex a way to forget the future and the past" (133).
Truly affirmative readings of Brett have begun to emerge; however, they still form the critical minority. Many charges against Brett remain unchallenged or insufficiently challenged, and the majority of critics continue to view her as a flawed character. Linda Patterson Miller notes that Brett remains one of the "Hemingway women most often maligned and misread" ("In Love" 10). Kathy G. Willingham writes that even critics "who do take a somewhat positive view toward her [Brett] do so in an apologetic and equivocal manner, intimating a lack of conviction and signifying that perhaps there is indeed something wrong with her" (35).
Such misinterpretations stem from the fact that we as readers see Brett as Jake sees her, and his ideas about Brett seem conflicted at best. Scott Donaldson asserts that "Jake Barnes tells the story of The Sun Also Rises so unobtrusively and convincingly that it never occurs to us to challenge his view of events" (26). But maybe we should question Jake's narration as it pertains to Brett. He seems, perhaps unconsciously, to associate women with manipulation. For example, as he walks "down the Boulevard to the Rue Soufflot" early one morning he notices "flower-women [...] arranging their daily stock" and a puppeteer's "girl assistant" as she "manipulate[s]" the vendor's toys (SAR 43). After all, Jake emphatically says more than once, "To hell with Brett. To hell with you, Lady Ashley" (38). His dismissal sounds like an attempt to convince himself of her worthlessness, and this attitude could color his narration, which certainly seems questionable in other respects. In the excised original opening of the novel, Jake even admits that his narration will not "be splendid and cool and [End Page 62] detached" because he "made the unfortunate mistake, for a writer, of first having been Mr. Jake Barnes" ("Beginning" 133 -34). Jake more subtly points to his own unreliability concerning Brett later when he reflects, "Somehow I feel I have not shown Robert Cohn clearly. The reason is that until he fell in love with Brett, I never heard him make one remark that would, in any way, detach him from other people" (SAR 52). Jake tellingly connects his misrepresentation of Cohn to Cohn's falling in love with Brett. If this affair so skewed Jake's perception of Cohn, what must it have done to his feelings about her?
Jake all but admits that he blames his desire for Brett on Brett herself: "Probably I never would have had any trouble if I hadn't run into Brett when they shipped me to England. I suppose she only wanted what she couldn't have" (SAR 39). Besides showing that Jake holds Brett responsible for his unhappiness, his statement points ironically to a seldom-acknowledged equality of purpose between these two characters. In desiring Brett, he too longs for that which he cannot have. A damning example of Jake's biased narration appears in chapter seventeen, detailing events surrounding the fiesta. Just after Brett begins her affair with bullfighter Pedro Romero, Jake sees her "coming though the crowd in the square, walking, her head up, as though the fiesta were being staged in her honor, and she found it pleasant and amusing" (210). However, we discover on the next page that he has totally misrepresented her desire for attention; Brett only wants to talk to Jake, and when he suggests a walk though the crowded upper end of the park, the area filled with "fashionably dressed people," she does not want to go because she does not "want staring at just now" (211). In this scene, Jake clearly ascribes motives and emotions to Brett that the text does not support, and he makes other, similar assumptions about her throughout the novel.
While Jake obviously narrates through his own prejudices, he remains our primary source of information about Brett. Unfortunately, what she actually says provides little insight into her character because she communicates largely with pat British expressions, and her words frequently contradict her actions. For example, she meets Jake in the bal musette and says that she plans never "to get tight any more" and then orders a brandy and soda with her next breath (SAR 29). Jake obviously knows more about Brett than he directly reveals. When Cohn asserts that Brett would never "marry anybody she didn't love," Jake replies "She's done it twice" (46 -47), giving us a piece of information about her life outside the text. Readers familiar with the excised first chapter know that before she married Lord [End Page 63] Ashley, Brett divorced a husband whom she had married "to get away from home" ("Beginning" 131), but neither this first husband nor the implication that Brett experienced a problematic childhood appear in the published novel. The extremely daunting problem for readers longing for a glimpse of the "real" Brett Ashley, then, lies in knowing how to extricate valuable information from Jake's narrative prejudices.
As early as 1947 , George Snell suggested that The Sun Also Rises "is an interesting novel by reason of its investigation of submerged meanings, and for what is symbolic in the relationships of its strangely assorted personnel" (162). Undeniably, a great deal of this novel's action occurs beneath the surface, and readers must interpret Jake's narrative carefully to discern much of what goes on. Brett voices what could serve as Hemingway's credo for the novel near the conclusion when she tells Jake that she will not talk about her affair with Romero; instead, she will "just talk around it" (SAR 249). In much the same fashion, Jake's narration frequently seems to "talk around" Brett. By searching for the submerged facets of her character, the unseen portion of that fabled Hemingway iceberg, readers can penetrate Jake's sketchy, prejudiced narration and begin to value Brett as a fully developed character engaged, like Jake, in learning how to live in a world where the rules have irrevocably changed.
By resisting different critical charges against Brett and re-examining the basis for those charges within the text we can begin to uncover concealed aspects of her character. The most damning critical charges against Brett, the ones that delineate her as a "bitch" with devastating powers, seem rooted in two portions of the text: Jake's aforementioned assertion that he would probably have had no problems after his injury had he not met Brett, and Cohn's description of Brett as Circe, the goddess who turns men into swine. These constructions of Brett, however, go against the logic of the text. Obviously, she did not cause Jake's real problem, his wound, and Cohn, who according to Jake "had been thinking for months about leaving his wife and had not done it because it would be too cruel to deprive her of himself," almost certainly became a pig long before he met Brett (SAR 12).
Moreover, Brett's actions prove that she attempts to nurture others, not destroy them. Gladstein acknowledges Brett's "mothering qualities" and feels that these traits keep Brett from becoming a "pure bitch-goddess" (61). While some feel that Brett mothers those around her in an attempt to provide [End Page 64] some sort of sexual healing, her actions certainly satisfy something within herself as well. She frequently chastises Mike and patronizes him almost as she would a small child. When she attempts to placate him after he first confronts Cohn she says, "Don't spoil the fiesta" in much the same way she might say "play nicely" to a toddler (SAR 148). As she leaves the group to nurse Romero after his fight with Cohn, she charges Jake with the task of watching out for Mike, but she still "look[s] in" on Mike herself on at least one other occasion (215). Furthermore, readers know that Brett nursed Jake through his recovery in a military hospital, and Mike says that his relationship with Brett also began because she "was looking after me" (206).
In the excised portion of the original first chapter, Hemingway gives a clue about why Brett feels compelled to mother those around her; she had a son with her second husband, Lord Ashley, and because of that, Ashley refused to grant her a divorce ("Beginning" 131). We also learn that Brett prided herself on "the speed with which they [she and Mike] got passports and raised funds" when she left Ashley (132). Her emphasis on speed suggests that she escaped rather than simply left, especially given that we later learn from Mike in the text proper that Ashley repeatedly threatened to kill her (SAR 207). Brett emphasizes what she takes pride in, the speed with which she escaped, to deflect attention from what she cannot regard with pride, leaving her child with an abusive husband. Therefore, her need to mother those around her probably stems from the pain and guilt born of leaving her child in order to save herself.
Another critical misconception about Brett assumes that she is vain about her personal appearance. Jake presents her as a primarily self-interested individual who uses her beauty as a weapon and to "add [...] up" her conquests (SAR 30). As a result, critics like Fiedler see Brett as a "terrible goddess, the avatar of an ancient archetype" (319), and Gladstein likewise interprets her as an Aphrodite figure worshipped by the novel's men, and for whom they "prostitute themselves" (60). Jake emphasizes the powerful effect of Brett's beauty upon everyone who sees her. When Cohn first meets Brett, he gazes upon her with "eager, deserving expectation" as if he "saw the promised land" (SAR 29). He later tells Jake that he finds her "remarkably attractive," and that she possesses a "certain fineness" (46). Count Mippipopolous alludes to a quality similar to that "certain fineness" when he remarks, "You got class all over you" (46 , 64). Bill Gorton first says upon seeing Brett, "Beautiful lady" (80), and even the women who work in the wine [End Page 65] shop in Pamplona, apparently awed by Brett's appearance, come to the window and stare at her when she first walks down the street (142). It seems little wonder, then, that Miller describes Brett as a woman "who is aware of and trapped by her beauty" ("In Love" 10 -11).
While the text makes much of Brett's attractiveness, she seems somewhat less sure of her appearance. Beauty may, as Miller believes, trap Brett, but Brett seems less aware of her appeal than Miller assumes. Brett agrees with Jake's assertion that she likes to "add [...] up" her conquests (SAR 30), but possibly because they afford her a much-needed source of reassurance. In the excised text, the omniscient narrator (whom Hemingway only later identifies as Jake) reveals the nontraditional nature of Brett's beauty: "She was not supposed to be beautiful, but in a room with women who were supposed to be beautiful she killed their looks entirely. Men thought she was lovely looking, and women called her striking looking" ("Beginning"133). Perhaps because her attractiveness does not conform to traditional standards of beauty, Brett considers that "her looks were not much" and feels flattered when various artists ask her to sit for them (133). This deleted information casts a very different light upon how Brett views herself. For example, when Mike asks Jake, "Don't you think she's beautiful?" Brett's response, "Beautiful. With this nose?" (SAR 85), no longer seems a ploy to generate further compliments. In fact, her self-deprecating question may conceal a genuine insecurity about her appearance. Another sign of this uncertainty appears in Brett's reluctance to allow the riau-riau dancers to encircle her. She seems uncomfortable when they choose her as "an image to dance around," and instead wants to join the dance herself (159). Like Romero in the similar scene occurring after he kills the bull that killed Vicente Girones, if Brett functions as a goddess here, she seems a most unwilling deity.
Some critics connect Brett to the decidedly less powerful figure of the prostitute, rather than the goddess. Even revisionist critics seeking to redeem Brett as a character place her in conjunction with Georgette Hobin, the prostitute Jake entertains before Brett comes onto the scene. The two characters do seem to exchange places as Brett goes off with Jake and Georgette remains with Brett's homosexual friends, but there is a distinct difference between the two women—Georgette can be purchased by the highest bidder, but Brett is not for sale. While Brett frequently allows various men to foot her bills, she does not, as Patrick D. Morrow suggests, function as "the group's prostitute in that most all her relationships sooner or later become based on money" (56). Morrow proposes that Jake becomes Brett's [End Page 66] "primary client" because he gives her "all he possibly can" (55), but Morrow's theory overlooks the fact that Jake does not attempt to buy Brett. Although several other men try to purchase her favors, she only accepts things from those who do not want to buy her, or, like Jake, know that they cannot. For example, Brett turns down the count's offer of ten thousand dollars in exchange for accompanying him on a trip to Biarritz, and only accepts things from him after making it clear that he cannot purchase her favors (SAR 41). Readers can also see this resistance in her financial interactions with Romero. Even though she refuses to take money from him as he leaves, telling him that she has "scads of it," she remarks that it "doesn't matter now" when she learns that he has already paid her hotel bill in advance (246 -247). Romero's payment truly does not matter to Brett now that he has left and does not expect anything in return for his investment (247). Despite attempts by other characters to depict Brett as a prostitute, including Mike's numerous references to her as a "piece" and the concierge's characterization of Brett as "a species of woman" engaged in "a dirty business" (84 -85 , 39 -40), Brett's actions resist such definitions.
Nor does Brett merely pay psychologically, as Jake implies with his realization that as a woman, she "pays and pays and pays" (SAR 152). Brett does pay in that fashion, but she also shows a pecuniary reserve at odds with Jake's exclusion of her from a financial definition of payment. We first see this reserve about financial matters when Brett dryly responds to Mike's suggestion that she purchase a new hat with "Oh, we've so much money now" (85). It surfaces again when, upon arriving in Pamplona, Brett sees a shop advertising wine for "30 Centimes A Liter" and decides, "That's where we'll go when funds get low" (142). Readers see the ultimate evidence that Brett pays her way both financially and psychologically when she funds Mike's stay in Pamplona; he freely admits that she "put up most of what I gave to old Montoya" (233).
A final catchall criticism of Brett linked to Jake's sketchy description of her holds that like many women characters in Hemingway's novels, she is a fundamentally weak, narrowly drawn character. In "Hemingway's Women," Miller refutes such assertions by pointing to Hemingway's iceberg theory and positing that "some readers do not read between the lines to feel more than they understand. Some readers miss the underlying emotional complexity which inheres in Hemingway's art and in his heroines" (5 -6). Miller further maintains that within the male-oriented frameworks of Hemingway's novels, "the female characters easily seem too narrowly drawn" (3). [End Page 67]
However, with the exception of Jake, all of Hemingway's characters in The Sun Also Rises, male and female alike, seem somewhat narrowly drawn. Jake provides a lot more information about Brett than about male characters such as Bill or Montoya. In fact, Jake gives Brett a depth of character rivaling any other in the novel. She easily seems the most racially tolerant member of the group when she accepts the African-American percussionist at Zelli's as "a great friend of mine" and appreciates him as a "Damn good drummer." Her attitude of acceptance contrasts markedly with Jake's rather racist observation that the drummer "was all teeth and lips" (SAR 69). In light of the anti-Semitic humor that Hemingway directs at Cohn, attributing such open-mindedness to Brett might seem a bit of a stretch, but she nevertheless displays an appealing generosity of spirit. Additionally, she exhibits a subtle wit as she delicately pokes fun at the count's speech patterns when she asks "Got many antiquities?" (68). Her word choice recalls the count's earlier observation that Brett has "got class all over" her (64), as does his reply—"I got a houseful" (69). Hemingway highlights another of Brett's virtues, the ability to keep a secret, through a conversation she has with Mike. While Mike claims that "she tells all the stories that reflect discredit on me" (139), the text proves the groundlessness of his accusation. It's Mike, not Brett, who tells the story about his giving away someone else's war medals in a bar. She mentions at least two other "stories"—one concerning his recent court experience and another about his counsel (141)—however, because Mike refuses to tell those tales, readers remain in the dark about them. In contrast, Mike seems more than willing to relate information that Brett would rather keep quiet, most notably when he recounts Cohn's comment likening Brett to Circe:
"Look, Brett. Tell Jake what Robert calls you. That is perfect, you know."
"Oh, no. I can't."
"Go on. We're all friends. Aren't we all friends, Jake?"
"I can't tell him. It's too ridiculous."
"I'll tell him."
"You won't, Michael. Don't be an ass."
"He calls her Circe," Mike said. "He claims she turns men into swine. Damn good. I wish I were one of these literary chaps"
(148). [End Page 68]
Brett clearly wishes that Mike had kept this information to himself, but he seems compelled to tell this story that reflects discredit on Brett. He reflects even greater discredit upon himself by committing the very offense of which he earlier accused her.
By acknowledging the shortsightedness of these and other judgments of Brett, we can begin to recognize that she functions as much more than a player in Jake's quest for self-definition: "I did not care what it [the world] was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about" (SAR 152). Brett also engages in a quest of her own, a similar pursuit that, in many ways, parallels Jake's. His emphasis on Brett's self-destructive behaviors, though, masks this search by making her appear mentally unbalanced. Jake's portrayal of her even leads Whitlow to suggest that "Brett's mind is, then, seriously disordered and filled with guilt" (57). But no character in this novel seems completely stable emotionally or mentally, and Brett hardly appears more psychologically affected than Jake. Jake's foul mood after Brett leaves with Romero, what Bill suggestively calls his "damn depression" (SAR 227), even causes Morrow to speculate that Jake actually spends his subsequent stay in San Sebastian at some type of mental hospital. Jake's latest philosophy of living concerns the notion of paying for what you get. He thinks, "Enjoying living was learning how to get your money's worth and knowing when you had it. You could get your money's worth. The world was a good place to buy in." He then goes on to reveal that this philosophy simply marks the latest of several attempts to create meaning when he elaborates, "It seemed like a fine philosophy. In five years, I thought, it will seem just as silly as all the other fine philosophies I've had" (152). Jake, like Count Mippipopolous, has apparently learned how to "buy in" the world, but not how to live in it.
Rather than pursuing some sort of neurotic self-destruction, Brett, like Jake, simply searches for a way to make meaning of the changed world the war has thrust upon her. Like Jake, Brett searches unproductively for meaning through organized religion. When Jake describes himself as "pretty religious," Brett challenges that claim by declaring, "Oh, rot [...] Don't start proselyting to-day" (SAR 213). Her doubt appears justified; Jake earlier comments to Bill that he "technically" professes Catholicism as his religion, but does not even know what he means by that qualification (129). Initially, other people block Brett from reaching out to religion. As she tries to enter [End Page 69] the church in Pamplona, she is "stopped just inside the door because she had no hat" (159). When later she does gain access, she stays in the chapel for only a moment and then whispers to Jake, "Let's get out of here. Makes me damned nervous" (212). Brett recognizes that religion does not present any viable options for her and remarks, "I'm damned bad for a religious atmosphere" (212). Jake's observation that Brett's "praying had not been much of a success" echoes his own earlier failed attempt at prayer in the cathedral, a similar effort that ends in self-blame when he thinks, "I only wished I felt religious and maybe I would the next time" (212 , 103).
While neither protagonist finds comfort in religion, Jake finds a measure of comfort in the natural world. The fishing episode at Burguete depicts Jake mostly at peace. Brett, however, does not even explore nature as a source of spiritual comfort. She apparently already knows that nature holds little potential for her, telling Jake "I couldn't live quietly in the country" (SAR 62). E. Roger Stephenson asserts that Hemingway removes Brett from the fishing episode because she is "out of place in the world of tranquility and peace that Jake and Bill experience" (37). It is more likely that Brett senses the natural world does not offer a woman the same opportunities it does Jake. Wendy Martin proposes that Brett avoids the country because she "knows that it is the urban centers that provide mobility and choices for the new woman, not the country with its traditionally limited vision of woman as reproductive being" (79). Or Brett could simply dislike the outdoors; she hardly seems much of a nature-lover. We rarely see Brett in a natural setting, and when we do, she usually occupies the decidedly limited natural environment of the park. And she does not even seem comfortable there. For example, when she walks to the park with Jake on the night that she seduces Romero, she can only sit there, surrounded by "the long lines of trees [that] were dark in the moonlight" for a moment before shivering and asking to leave (SAR 186 -187). Whatever the reason, nature offers Brett little opportunity. She cuts herself off from exploring its possibilities when she asserts, "I won't fish" (88), and then somehow manages to avoid making the trip to Burguete altogether.
While Jake finds a comfort in nature unavailable to Brett, Brett searches through her sexual activities for a comfort that Jake cannot access. Critics have seen Brett's affairs as everything from a fairly innocuous search for reassurance to evidence of nymphomania. While Brett certainly does enter into these affairs for some type of reassurance, the types of men she chooses as lovers suggest that she also uses her sexuality to search vicariously for meaning. [End Page 70] Outside of her relationships with Jake and Mike—the long-standing connections that she maintains as part of her fundamental support system—she chooses to carry out her affairs with men who profess to believe in some sort of moral code. Cohn, the first of Brett's temporary lovers, seems a romantic type basically untouched by war. Mark Spilka aptly describes him as "the last chivalric hero, the last defender of an outworn faith" (109). Brett turns to Count Mippipopolous as her next candidate for a partner. However, she quickly cuts short the possibility of a relationship when he says that love "has got a place in my values." Brett challenges him when she replies, "You haven't any values. You're dead, that's all" (SAR 67). Because she vests such hope in the power of love, she cannot conceive of love as only one among many values.
Next, Brett enters into a romance with Romero that seems to have the most promise of any affair in the novel. In addition to his tight green trousers, Romero's belief in the code of the bullfight fires Brett's immediate attraction. When the affair first begins, Brett tells Jake, "I feel altogether changed," and Jake notes that she certainly does look "radiant" and "happy" (SAR 211). She seems to have found what she has searched for throughout the novel: great sex with a man who might possibly understand her and, more importantly, help her to understand herself. Predictably, though, she ends this affair as well when Romero tries to remake her into the more womanly sort of partner he desires by urging her to grow her hair longer. Brett remains true to herself, the self that Romero wants to change, and tries to cover her pain when she explains the situation to Jake, joking "Me, with long hair. I'd look so like hell." Given her insecurities about her …
Cafés and Food: Allusions to the Great War in The Sun Also Rises
"This [novel] is about something [the war] that is already finished." There may be another war, but "none of it will matter particularly to this generation because to them the things that are given to people to happen have already happened."
"Hemingway was disappointed throughout his life because The Sun Also Rises was the novel most often misread," Linda W. Wagner says; "it was the 'naturalistic' Hemingway, or at any rate, the 'realistic' novel." By now, many readers see The Sun Also Rises preeminently as a novel of implication. One of its referential contexts is, of course, the mid-1920s (the story takes place in a fictional year that resembles 1924-25); and much critical attention has focused on decoding the story's subtle allusions to this period. But memories of the pre-story past have been noted, too. Almost always, they concern Jake's war wounding. For instance, Pamplona during fiesta time has been seen as a kind of war zone, and Jake's wounding is in a sense re-enacted when Cohn knocks him unconscious. More often, though, it is Jake's unmanning (as his war wounding was unmanning) emotional woundings by Brett Ashley throughout the story that have been seen in these terms.
But implied remembrances of the past involve more than Jake's own wounding. They concern the historical past, too; they concern what has "already happened," not only to the narrator Jake [End Page 127] Barnes personally but to his generation. The point can be demonstrated by considering a single aspect of the story: its subtle allusions to the pre-story past—to life "in our time" (c. 1914-22)—as they are found in café scenes, cafe names, and food.
The novel's first café scene, with Jake, Cohn, and Frances, comes in the brief opening chapter (pp. 14-15). This quarrelsome scene at the Café Versailles alludes to Versaillles, 1919. (Imagine a post-Civil War novel narrated by a wounded vet opening at the Café Appomattox.) There was conflict at Versailles with the Germans and even more conflict among the Allies themselves. Eventually, Clemenceau and Wilson were no longer on speaking terms; Clemenceau clashed often with Lloyd George as well. Perhaps no one was kicked under a table in 1919 at Versailles, as Cohn finally kicks Jake under the table. Still, Lloyd George grabbed Clemenceau by the collar and demanded an apology for accusing him of "making false statements." Clemenceau offered to settle this matter of honor with "pistols or swords."
The places that Jake mentions to Cohn for a walking trip may also have post-war connotations. First, he suggests that they "fly to Strasbourg" and then walk up to Ste. Odile's. The shrine of Ste. Odile, patron saint of Alsace and a patron saint of the blind, was a popular destination for men blinded in the war. (Ste. Odile is the patron saint called on repeatedly by Gertrude Stein's Mrs. Reynolds in the World War II novel of that name.) Other places that he names—"somewhere or other in Alsace," or Bruges, the Ardennes, or Senlis—were among the early scenes of the war. From the Ardennes, the site of a vast post-war military cemetery, down through Upper Alsace was the region of the disastrous (for the French) August 1914 Battle of the Frontiers. Bruges was taken by the Germans in the fall of 1914. (Located twelve miles by canal from the North Sea, it became a German submarine base, which early in the war was bombed by the British. Thirty miles away by rail is the Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendaele, the largest British cemetery is the world.) In their 1914 drive south towards Paris, the Germans left Senlis in flames; located twenty-four miles northeast of Paris in the First Marne Battlefield area, Senlis had its own war memorials and graveyards. So along with climbing mountains and walking in woods, Jake may want to visit battle-fields, war cemeteries, and memorials. "Pilgrims" going on "pilgrimages" (to use the contemporary terms) to such sites was, in fact, a thriving post-World War I travel industry.
In Chapter 3, at Lavigne's restaurant, Jake, for some unstated reason, assumes that the prostitute whom he has picked up is from Liège (p. 24; Georgette is from Brussels). It was at fortified Liège in August 1914 that the Germans shocked the world by invading neutral Belgium. Perhaps [End Page 128] he assumes that she is a war refugee and associates her (and her war-time experiences) with the Rape of Little Belgium, as it was called in the world press. Earlier, he had called her a "little girl" (p. 22).
Later that night at the Café Select, Jake, hearing of Georgette's off-stage fight at the bal musette, suddenly wants to leave. Just before departing, he asks Brett about Mike (pp. 36-37). Word of Georgette's fight may bring back to Jake a state of mind and emotions associated with the spring 1918 German offensive on the Western Front, a break-through of Caporetto-like proportions. The opening battle on the Somme was code-named by the Germans Operation Michael; it was soon followed by Operation Georgette, which took off from Flanders, Belgium. If Hemingway did not already know these names, he could have found them in Ludendorff's memoirs, which apparently he read before revising the novel. It is interesting to note that Hemingway was in Paris in early June while the third battle of this spring offensive was threatening the capital and that the United States Marines, along with Harold Krebs of Hemingway's "Soldier's Home," were making headlines in America by holding back the Germans at Belleau Wood.
On the next morning, Jake attends a news conference at the Quai d'Orsay. This is where the Paris Peace Conference was held; after some contention, the Germans signed the Treaty at Versailles. Then he lunches with Robert Cohn at Wetzel's, a German restaurant. They quarrel about Brett. It is a matter of honor—"'I didn't ask you to insult her,'" Cohn says—although no one suggests pistols or swords. Afterwards, they walk up the street to the Café de la Paix for what may suggest an inconclusive peace settlement that has no chance of working out (pp. 46-47).
That afternoon at the Crillon, Jake drinks a Jack Rose with George the bartender (p. 48). (The drink was named for the French general, J.F. Jacqueminot [1787-1865], one of Napoleon's officers at Waterloo.) Along with the drink, George apparently offers Jake some wise words about not being "daunted." Later, in Paris, Bill mentions that he had been at the Crillon, where George had "'made me a couple of Jack Roses.'" Then Bill calls George a "great man" and mentions his philosophy of not being "daunted" (p. 79). In this novel of implication and secretive allusions to things past, a "great man" with a philosophy of not being "daunted" implies something. In fact, it sounds like the war-time rhetoric mocked during the 1920s. During the Paris Peace talks, in the spring of 1919, the Allies' delegation stayed at the Crillon (and one other hotel). Also, during the war Lloyd George and Field Marshal Haig, both called Great Men after the war, met at the Crillon in November 1917 to discuss Caporetto and Passchendaele. Haig was certainly undaunted by the terrific and essentially futile losses at such places as the Somme 1916 and Passchendaele. Perhaps during the war George was in the bar serving to some Great Men Jack Roses—which now seems to be the only drink one can get while he is on duty—heard their philosophy of not being daunted, and never got over it.
Then Jake goes to the Café Select, where he watches Frances attack Robert Cohn. Here we learn that her mother had foolishly put her money into French war bonds (p. 56). Frances had [End Page 129] invested her visible assets in Robert Cohn; after two-and-a-half years, she now finds that her investment, not unlike her mother's in the war, yields very little (p. 54). This café scene—which concerns Frances' complaint over her meager "reparations" payment for her sacrifices—may suggest the fruits of the Versailles Treaty, which went into effect in June 1920. Clemenceau had wanted extensive and punishing reparations from the Germans for what he thought owed for France's sacrifices; two-and-a-half years later (during the fall of 1922), "Tiger" Clemenceau told young reporter Ernest Hemingway that the Treaty had been a failure. (After a fight in Vienna, the boxer who looks like Tiger Flowers similarly does not get his money; he is fortunate, finally, to get his clothes back [p. 77].) This café scene with the formidable Frances and the rigidly controlled Cohn—who sometimes is seen as Jake's psychological double—may be emotionally wounding or at least daunting for Jake. Again he makes a sudden departure, one so sudden that it is comical. He says that he has to go into the bar to see Harvey (Harvey is up the street somewhere); then he leaves through a side door of the bar and hurries back to his flat (p. 58). Café quarrels or emotional "woundings," followed by retreats to one's room—and in Pamplona this will include Cohn and Mike—is the novel's most frequently recurring action sequence.
On Jake's next night out, he and Bill stop at an unnamed café for a drink (p. 79). Bill's suggestion that they enjoy a dinner of hard-boiled eggs is another war-time allusion. Due to the scarcity of meat during the war, eggs and potato chips was the soldiers' favorite off-duty meal; after the war, it became standard fare on menus in France, England, and Belgium. Jake says, "'Nix'" (from the German nichts) to Bill's dining suggestion. Apparently, he uses this war-derived slang because Bill has just made a sly allusion to the war: "'Only let's not get daunted. Suppose they got any hard-boiled eggs here?'" (p. 79) As part of the novel's war/food pattern of allusions, this seems a pun on the "undaunted" Haig's name. John Keegan says that Haig was a man "deficient in human feeling" : the silent, cold, and, we may also say, hard-boiled 'Aig, for indeed in British lore he was famously referred to by Chief of the Imperial General Staff Sir William "Wully" Robertson as 'Aig," as in, "Get 'Aig!" or "Not that 'Aig's 'eard." Robertson was replaced late in the war by Sir Henry Wilson, whose 1922 assassination by the IRA is mentioned in Pamplona by Mike (p. 140).
As they continue down the street, they come across Brett, then proceed to the Café Lilas for a drink. Here, Jake jokingly identifies Bill to Brett as a taxidermist. "'That was in another country,' Bill said. 'And besides all the animals were dead'" (pp. 80-81). In Hemingway's fiction, "in another country" implies the country of war and death. (Bill, who says that he is a naturalist or "nature-writer," may be alluding to the millions of horses and mules killed at the front, as Hemingway does in "A Natural History of the Dead." ) It is significant that his remarks are made at the Café Lilas. In A Moveable Feast, we learn that among the regulars at the Lilas were war-veterans, some with artificial eyes or reconstructed faces—recalling the glassy-eyed stuffed animals in the [End Page 130] taxidermist's window. The stuffed animals (somewhat comparable to the dead animals that Nick Adams sees hanging outside butcher shops in Milan in "In Another Country") may suggest the mutilated and patched up war veterans to be seen on Paris streets after the war. The proximity in the text of the doctors in "flowing robes" on the statue and the stuffed animals suggests this. (A comparable image is the "Nurses in uniform" and the one-armed war veteran in San Sebastian [p. 241]). One of these doctors, François Magendie, introduced into medical practice the use of morphine and strychnine. And, of course, later in the evening they will walk past a war-veterans' hospital, the Val-de-Grace, in which many of those mutilated in the war resided or met in associations for disfigured veterans.
After dinner on the Ile St. Louis, Bill and Jake walk through Paris. They climb a steep hill and, descending to the Select, they pass a café at which Jake sees a girl making potato chips and an "iron pot of stew." They then come to the Rue du Pot de Fer/Pot of Iron (p. 83). They are headed for the end of the line, the "war zone" of the café district, where Jake again will be "wounded" by Brett. (Pamplona has been seen as analogous to a war zone; Paris seems to be one, too.) So according to the logic of Imagism, "iron" here may be an allusion to the "iron rations" soldiers carried on the way to the front lines. (They were also supplied bars of chocolate. French soldiers were well supplied with wine; this may make us wonder how Count Mippipopolous, a candy store magnifico, friend of Baron Mumm, and the newspaper-image of the war profiteer, made his fortune. ) At the Café Select, they meet Brett, our lady of the bare legs, and the amorous Mike. Jake, with his a habit of imagining his friends' bedroom scenes, seems emotionally wounded. But it is minor compared to the Big Wounding he receives the next evening.
In the Paris section's last cafe scene, Jake the following evening meets Mike and Brett at the Dingo. In both French and English slang, "dingo" suggests "dizzy" or "crazy"—adjectives that in Pamplona will apply to both Jake (after being knocked unconscious by Cohn) and Cohn (Brett has made him "crazy," he says [p. 198]). In this, the Paris section's climactic scene, as Brett and Jake walk up the Rue Delambre, she wounds him deeply by telling him that she has been away with Robert Cohn (pp. 87-89). That she in a sense knocks Jake dizzy (that he "sees stars") seems suggested by the fact that Delambre was a French astronomer. A contemporary photo shows the [End Page 131] Dingo American Bar and Restaurant, with a notice listing its specialty, Bavarian food and German "Astra" beer —although this impossibly secretive allusion may have been meant for Hemingway's Left Bank readers. Shortly after being wounded by her outside the Dingo—it is four days but less than a page later in the text—Jake is on a train, heading for a place of recuperation. Perhaps it is significant that he is wounded by her on 21 June, for he may have been wounded on the Piave line in Italy on 21 June 1918, during the big 15-24 June Austrian offensive, which featured major air battles over the lower Piave. Both Nick Adams of the "Nick sat against the wall" vignette in In Our Time and Colonel Cantwell were wounded during this June 1918 offensive.
In Pamplona, after a trip to the corrals, Mike at a café insults Cohn—he "wounds" him emotionally—and Cohn retreats to his room. That night Jake and his friends have a drunken, rather tense dinner-party. "It was like certain dinners I remember from the war," Jake says (p. 150)—as many present images recall for him images from the war.
At noon on the opening day of the fiesta, Jake is at café in the square. The good furniture has been replaced by cast iron tables and severe folding chairs for the duration of the fiesta; to Jake, the cafe looks like "a battleship stripped for action." As he sits at this battleship-café, the exploding rockets seem to him like shrapnel bursts, and the streets suddenly are full of crowds and noise (pp. 156-57). Battleships, rockets, crowds, noise: we seem to be in an explicitly metaphorical war zone.
Another important site in Pamplona is Montoya's underground dining-room. On Friday night—as Romero sits with the group of expatriates, Jake, Brett, our lady of the bare shoulders, and the others—Montoya enters and instantly sees the situation for what it is. He ignores Jake, canceling his putative sense of aficion—and perhaps his manhood, too, which had been diminished in the war and is assaulted by Brett throughout the story (pp. 180-82). That is, here it is father-figure Montoya who wounds Jake.
Later, after returning Brett to Romero in the hotel dining-room, Jake goes to the Café Milano, then on to the Cafe Suizo (Swiss). (The suggestion may be that he travels from Milan to the war-front in the mountains.) At the Suizo, he is hit twice by Cohn and knocked unconscious under a table. At the Café Versailles, Cohn had merely kicked Jake twice under a table. This scene is followed by his retreating, dizzy and disoriented, to his room.
At noon on the fiesta's final day, the German headwaiter on the terrace at Montoya's watches with some amusement what we might call the disorderly retreat of the British. Mike, drunk, angry, wounded by Brett, tips over a table, then retreats to his room, helped by Bill. Later, Jake will find Mike lying on his bed looking like "a death mask of himself" (pp. 211, 213-14).
After the long night of fighting (Friday), the next morning sees the running of the bulls. (Elsewhere I have suggested that the running of the bulls—"combat animals" chasing a "rear guard," Hemingway says of them in "Pamplona in July" —through the town and out the muddy runway to the distant arena may be an allusion to the retreat from Caporetto. ) It may be pertinent to the [End Page 132] novel's food-war association that on this final day in this metaphoric war-zone Jake, sitting at a café, says that the fiesta has come to the "boiling-point"—although at least no one is "cooked," as we hear several times in Frederic's story. (Also in Frederic's story, soldiers at the front are famously compared to animals going into a slaughterhouse.) Later, the crowd "boiled over" as it headed for the bullring (p. 215). "Boiling" was a frequent war-time adjective for soldiers swarming out of the front line trenches. Furthermore, Romero's final bull of the afternoon, which that morning had killed the young farmer during the running of the bulls, is called Bocanegra (pp. 202, 201). "Bocanegra," "Black Mouth," suggests the Black Mouth of death and oblivion, but it too may be a specific war allusion. The murderous Ypres Salient was depicted as an open jaw or mouth, with the British inside it.
Soon after the Pamplona section's final wounding—Jake's discovery that Brett has gone off with Romero sends him reeling to his room and bed—Jake departs from the war-zone of Pamplona. After staying overnight in Bayonne (at the same hotel room he had stayed in after departing wounded from Paris—p. 236), he goes to San Sebastian. After "forty minutes and eight tunnels," he is in San Sebastian (p. 237). Presumably the numbers refer to the war-time forty men/eight horses French military railroad cars ("Hommes 40, chevaux 8"). His rest and recreation at San Sebastian is cut short by a telegram, delivered by a very military-looking postman, which sends him south to Madrid. There he finds that Brett has retreated to bed, emotionally wounded.
Of course, The Sun Also Rises is not the only Hemingway novel in which we find war-food associations. They can also be found in A Farewell to Arms and in For Whom the Bell Tolls, as well as in Hemingway's other city novel with a wounded war-veteran protagonist, Across the River and Into the Trees; here, the war-food/restaurant associations are frequent and obvious. But most of those in The Sun Also Rises are secretive almost to the point of invisibility. Perhaps they are too secretive. This may be one reason Hemingway was disappointed, as Wagner says, that this novel had never been fully seen for what it is.
The café/war and food/war associations demonstrate that what has "already happened" to Jake Barnes and his generation is, by implication, an important subject in this story. This complex, prose-poem novel is more a book of memory than has been recognized.
teaches in the Swiss Section of Rudumrudee International School, located in Minburi, a suburb of Bangkok, Thailand. He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Utah in 1973. He has published twenty-five notes and articles on Hemingway, some of which have been reprinted in collections of Hemingway criticism. His E-mail address is .
. Regarding this novel's allusions to the war, it is worth noting that Paul Fussell argues that the Great War was an inescapable part of postwar poetry. For example, he says that Eliot'sThe Waste Land—with its archduke, canals, rats, dead men, crowds, its "setting of blasted landscape," its conversation about demobilization—is more a memory of the war than has been recognized. He cites similar remarks ("'This is war poetry, as much so as The Waste Land'") by Hugh Kenner on Pound's A Draft of XVI Cantos for the Beginning of a Poem of Some Length"—which, like The Sun Also Rises, was published in 1926. Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford University Press, 1977), pp. 325-26.
. In "A Paris-to-Strasbourg Flight" (1922) we get a view from the air of the terrain they would see near St. Mihiel: "the old [American] 1918 front," with "trenches zig-zagging through a field pocked with shell holes." Ernest Hemingway, By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, ed. William White (Touchstone, 1998), p. 43.
. There must be some reason that Jake associates her with Liège; perhaps it is her mouth, a "wonderful lot of dental wreckage," he says in the manuscript. Liège, with its forts, destroyed, smashed, wrecked by the Germans, was the portcullis guarding the narrow gateway or mouth that led into the Belgium plains. The quote is in James Hinkle, "'Dear Mr. Scribner,'" Hemingway Review, VI (1986), p. 58. Soon after Liège, Brussels was taken without military resistance.
. General Erich Ludendorff's My War Memories 1914-1918 had been published in English in 1920. In a December 1925 letter to Fitzgerald, Hemingway mentions having sent him "the Ludendorff" book. In a later December 1925 letter to Fitzgerald, he lists four recently published German books on the war that he is sending away for. Matthew J. Bruccoli,Fitzgerald and Hemingway: A Dangerous Friendship (Carroll & Graf, 1995), pp. 36 and 42. Near the end of A Farewell to Arms, Frederic, while eating at a café, reads about the breakthrough on the British front—Operation Georgette—then suddenly senses that he must get back to the hospital; there he finds that Catherine, his British nurse, is dying.
. Wolff, pp. 69, 251; Marshall, 214; A.J.P. Taylor, The First World War: An Illustrated History (Penguin, 1972), p. 167. Taylor provides other "famous words" by Robertson. When Gen. Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien protested against what he considered a foolish order to attack, Robertson dismissed him: "'Orace, you're for 'ome.'" Taylor, p. 83.
. "The number of dead horses and mules shocked me; human corpses were all very well, but it seemed wrong for horses to be dragged into the war like this." Robert Graves, Good-Bye to All That (Doubleday, 1998), p. 209. "The poor horses!" Franz Marc exclaimed in a letter from Verdun shortly before he was killed. Alistair Horne, The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 (Penguin 1997), p. 150; Martin, First World War, p. 235.
. Landscape, too, suggests memories of the pre-story past in The Sun Also Rises. For instance, during this after dinner walk in Paris with Bill, Jake sees "Across the river were the broken walls of old houses" (82): this is a war image from a 1922 Hemingway newspaper article, "A Veteran Visits His Old Front," which also appears in the stories of Frederic Henry and Colonel Cantwell. Ernest Hemingway, Dateline: Toronto, ed. William White (Scribner's, 1985), p. 177; A Farewell to Arms (Simon & Schuster, 1995), p. 45; Across the River and Into the Trees (Arrow Books, 1995), p. 14. Then, near the Quai de Bethune (British-held Bethune was a war town on the Western Front) Jake sees Notre Dame "squatting" in the distance downriver (p. 83): during the war "squatting" was a newspaper term of derision for the titanic stationary armies on the Western Front; Wolff, pp. 18, 173, 283. In fact, Hemingway had used the term in a cluster of war-images in a December 1923 newspaper article, "Christmas at the Top of the World." Immediately after mentioning buses rumbling through the snowy Paris streets, resembling "green juggernauts," the article's persona says that down the river Notre Dame "squats in the dusk." Then, the young couple in the article walk up the Rue Bonaparte to the Rue Jacob, where at a hotel restaurant they "attack" the potatoes and "attack" their Christmas turkey. By-Line, pp. 130-31. At the corrals in Pamplona, Jake sees "Beyond the river" crowds of people lining the old fortifications; the apertures in the corral wall look to him "like loopholes" (through which guns were fired at the front line trenches); later the picadors' pics resemble the "lances" of cavalrymen (pp. 142-43, 216). Many other examples could be cited.
. The date of the Ledoux fight in Paris is Monday, 20 June (p. 86)—a fictional date, as it is not found on a 1924 or 1925 calendar, but possibly the anniversary of Jake's wounding in the war. If we were to go by this Ledoux calendar, then Cohn would knock Jake out at the Café Suzio on 8 July, the anniversary date of Hemingway's own war wounding.
. At the Ypres Salient (Belgium), the war's biggest killing ground, the Germans were positioned on high ground on three sides of the British; the salient was depicted in German newspapers as being shaped like a human skull with open jaws ready to devour the British; Wolff, p. 129; Marshall, 76. Or, "Black Mouth"—perhaps at the corrals it was Bocanegra that exploded from his box (inside the …