Summary and Analysis Chapter XIV



Jake goes to bed drunk. Because he is afraid of the dark, he tries reading, then thinks about his friendship with Brett and whether each of his friends is a "good" or "bad" drunk. During the next two days, as the final preparations are made for the fiesta, the town is quiet.


In this mainly transitional chapter, Hemingway again applies Joyce's stream-of-consciousness technique to drunken thought. Some of Jake's musings in this state concern the theme of "equal exchange"; intoxicated, he drifts into the misapprehension shared by other characters that "You gave up something and got something else" — then quickly snaps back to the knowledge that this is another "silly" philosophy. In an unguarded moment, Jake also admits to himself that he likes to see Mike hurt Cohn. "I wished he would not do it, though," Jake continues, "because afterward it made me disgusted with myself."

Surprisingly for someone thought to be the ultimate in macho, Hemingway was himself afraid of the dark and, thus, many of his protagonists were as well. In this case, it seems appropriate, considering Jake's quite understandable disinclination to be alone with himself.

The inside-outside theme is reiterated in Chapter XIV when Jake tells us that he "went to church a couple of times, once with Brett." Brett asks to accompany Jake to confessional, and he tells her "it would be in a language she did not know" — meaning Spanish, of course. But Jake also means that Brett, as an outsider to Catholicism, can never truly understand the very notion of confession. And indeed, she seems disinclined to regret her mistakes, much less seek forgiveness for them.

Lastly, Jake makes an observation in this chapter that perhaps illuminates the famous Hemingway style. Talking about Brett and Mike's speech, he tells us that "The English spoken language — the upper classes, anyway — must have fewer words than the Eskimo. . . . The English talked with inflected phrases. One phrase to mean everything. . . . I liked the way they talked." Hemingway was a great admirer of upper-class British behavior, especially the stoic "stiff upper lip" tradition. Perhaps their limited vocabulary influenced his own tendency, when writing, to use few words. (The Basque language, as well, is notable for its minuscule vocabulary. Another influence on the writer?)


Turgenieff Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (1818–1883); Russian novelist.

"A Sportsman's Sketches" title of Turgenev short-story collection.

picador in bullfighting, any of the horsemen who weaken the neck muscles of the bull by pricking with a lance.

barrera the protecting wall enclosing the floor of a bull ring at bullfights.

ANIS DEL TORO (Spanish) anise of the bull; brand of French or Spanish liqueur flavored with aniseed.

paseo (Spanish) a leisurely walk, especially in the evening; stroll.

vermouth a sweet or dry, white fortified wine flavored with aromatic herbs, used in cocktails and as an aperitif.

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