Jake, Bill, and Cohn explore Bayonne in the morning. Since the bus to Pamplona is not yet in service, they hire a motor-car. They drink until it arrives with a driver. They drive into the country, taking in the scenery. They cross the Spanish frontier, and while their chauffeur deals with the paperwork, they chat with the locals and a guard. They drive deeper into Spain, heading into a heavily forested landscape, and finally arrive at Pamplona. They pass by the bull-ring and reach their hotel near the big square. They set themselves up and have lunch with the driver before he leaves. They discuss Brett and Mike; Cohn bets Bill that they won't arrive.
Jake later explores the town on his own, making sure the man who gets him his bull-fight tickets has done so. He enters a cathedral and prays for himself, for all his friends, for the bull-fighters and the bull-fights, for good fishing, and for making money. He starts thinking about the count, then feels ashamed for being a "rotten Catholic," but decides there is nothing he can do about it.
At night, Jake and Cohn go to meet Brett and Mike's train. Cohn, freshly shaven and with a haircut, is extremely nervous, and Jake enjoys witnessing his anxiety, though he feels bad for doing so. Brett and Mike are not on the train. They relay the news to Bill; Cohn tells him not to worry about the bet. Jake receives a telegram from Brett and Mike; they've stopped over in San Sebastian. He lies and tells Cohn that they send their regards to him, and admits to himself that he did it because he is jealous of Cohn. They make plans to leave tomorrow; if Brett and Mike get in later, they can follow them.
The next day, Jake buys bus tickets for them, but Cohn says he won't be leaving with them. He explains that he is supposed to meet Brett and Mike in San Sebastian, as he had suggested it to Brett. Jake is annoyed, and sees that Cohn is enjoying it. Jake finds Bill shaving in his room, and Bill says Cohn confided in him last night about his date with Brett. Jake grows more upset, though he admits Cohn can be nice. Jake tells him about Cohn's relationship with Brett; Bill wishes she had gone to San Sebastian with Jake or him instead of Cohn. They decide they're better off fishing without Cohn, and go off for a drink.
Jake's jealousy reaches a boiling point as he discovers there is even more to Cohn and Brett's relationship than he believed. He finally admits to his jealousy, as well, and even Bill, who hardly knows Brett, is insecure (witness his low appraisal of his face in the mirror). Worse yet, Cohn is still a fairly pathetic figure, almost unworthy of their jealousy; even the fact that he cancelled his bet, won with insider knowledge, makes him too "nice" a figure to deserve their enmity. In a way, this is Brett's ultimate way of toying with the emasculated Jake -- bedding down with as emasculated a man as possible.
In the prior chapter, we learned in passing that Jake is Catholic. Here we see the absence of religion in his life as he prays at first for people, then for selfish, non-spiritual values (money, especially). His false prayers are not as bad as is his irresponsible attitude toward his salvation: "Irealized there was nothing I could do about it." This echoes what he told Frances about Cohn, and functions as the Lost Generation's motto of irresponsibility; the world is imperfect, but there is nothing they can do about it.
The pastoral drive to Pamplona is the first step in the 18th-century tradition of Wordsworth and other Romantic writers of regeneration through a return to nature. The winding scenery described much as the winding streets of Paris were depicted, but this landscape feels more soothing. Though the men quickly resume their habits of indulgent drinking and eating while in town, one feels Jake and Bill are ready to reclaim some lost part of their identities while fishing.
Jake and Bill bid adieu to Robert and take a bus crowded with peasants to Burguete so they can go fishing. They drink wine with the Basques from their wine-skins, and discuss America with an old Basque man. They reach Burguete, a small town, and find their inn, where it is very cold. The price is higher than Jake expected, but wine is included. They drink a lot to warm up with their dinner. They retire to bed.
Jake and Bill continue their retreat into nature. As Hemingway increases his description of the landscape, the men befriend the Basques and learn how to drink from their wine-skins. They return to an older, ritualized way of life; even though they drink just as rabidly at the inn as they always do, they seem to appreciated the simple comforts there: "It felt good to be warm and in bed."
The other important part in this chapter is their brief discussion of America with the old Basque man. He is proud to have lived in America, just as Jake and Bill and the other expatriates are proud to have lived outside of America. For all of them, living in a foreign land has proven their experience and sophistication. However, the Basque is proud because he has lived in the land where the streets are supposedly paved with gold; the Americans are proud to have "slummed," to have lived and traveled in places without all the comforts of America (though they still usually insist on first-class treatment).
Jake wakes up early and walks outside. He digs for some worms and puts them in tobacco-tins. He returns and urges Bill to get up; Bill jokingly tells him to dig up more worms for them, and tells him to show him "'irony and pity.'" They have breakfast, and Bill discusses the need for irony and pity. He also speaks of the failings of the expatriates -- they become corrupted by European values, drink excessively and obsess over sex, cast off work. When he suggests Jake is impotent, Jake says he "'just had an accident.'" Bill changes the subject and tells Jake how fond he is of him, and that he could not tell him that in New York for fear of being called a "'faggot.'"
They hike through the beautiful countryside with their fishing gear and stop at a dam across a river. They put two bottles of wine in a spring to keep them cold. They fish, and Jake catches several trout and prepares them to take home. Jake takes a break and reads. He and Bill compare their catches -- Bill's are bigger. They drink their wine and have lunch. They discuss various men with whom they went to school. Jake admits he is in love with Brett, and that he is "'Technically'" a Catholic. They nap. When they wake up, they pack their belongings and walk home. They stay at Burguete for five similar days, playing cards at night and fishing with an Englishman named Harris. They do not hear from Cohn or Brett and Mike.
Although it is unclear whether Jake is truly impotent or "'just had an accident,'" he still is uneasy discussing it, even when he doesn't believe he is: "I was afraid he thought he had hurt me with that crack about impotent." Even if Jake is not hurt by the joke, he is insecure that Bill may merely think Jake is hurt by it -- which, in the end, is almost worse: Jake cares more about how others perceive his feelings than about his actual feelings.
This chapter is the prime example of Hemingway's idealized paradise of men without women. Away from all the evils Bill describes -- namely, obsession over sex -- the men can confide in each other more intimately. Bill says he would be called a "'faggot'" in New York for admitting his fondness for Jake, and Jake is not even afraid to admit that his trout are smaller than Bill's, in dialogue that recalls a comparison of penis size. Even their dialogue before and after they nap seems like pillow talk between lovers.
The men are also defined more in this chapter by their actions, rather than by their speech. For Hemingway, actions are where a man's true character lies, a topic that will be explored more in the arena of bull-fighting. Hemingway's writing is sparer in this chapter, too, as it has become since the men left Paris. Just as the men become more defined by action, so does his prose.
Bill mockingly refers to their lunch in the terms of a religious ritual, but in a sense it is. Away from the "'irony and pity'" of civilization that he previously referred to, they live a simpler life in deeper touch with the spirituality of the earth, fishing for their own food and drinking wine cooled by a natural spring. Even Jake's digging for worms is a return to the clean, fertile soil of the earth, and away from the grime and dirt of the city. These rituals, and the notion of fertility, will soon play a greater role.
At breakfast, Harris hands Jake a letter that he accidentally received. Mike writes that Brett passed out on the train, so they decided to recuperate in San Sebastian with old friends. He says they are going to Pamplona on Tuesday, and wants to know where to rejoin them on Wednesday. Harris informs Jake that it is Wednesday, and Jake tells him he and Bill will leave for Pamplona in the afternoon. After breakfast, Jake receives a telegram while he sits outside with Bill. Cohn writes, in Spanish, that he is coming Thursday. They write a telegram back and tell him they are arriving tonight.
With Harris, they walk to a monastery, then drink in a pub. They say goodbye to him and board their bus to Pamplona. They talk to the head of the hotel, Montoya, find out their friends have been there since yesterday, and learn about the bull-fights for the next couple of days. Montoya believes he and Jake are real "aficionados" of bull-fighting -- they are passionate about bull-fighting. Jake reveals that the good bull-fighters stay at Montoya's hotel, where photographs hang of those with "aficion," or passion. He and Jake often talk about bull-fighting. Montoya has introduced Jake to the other aficionados of bull-fighting at his hotel in the past; it usually takes Jake a little while to convince them that though he is an American, he is a true aficionado. Montoya, Jake relates, forgives any faults of an aficionado -- for instance, he forgives Jake his friends.
In their room, Jake describes the "unloadings" of the bull-fights: the bulls are released from their corrals to chase and gore steers, young oxen castrated before sexual maturity. The purpose is to calm down the bulls and prevent them from fighting each other. Jake and Bill find Brett, Mike, and Cohn at a café. They discuss the fishing, and Brett tries to get Mike to tell a war story. Instead, he tells about the time he got some medals from his tailor to wear at a dinner, but ended up giving them out to girls at a nightclub. He also says his "'False friends'" made him go bankrupt.
They leave to watch the bulls unloaded. They find a place in the crowd and watch as two steers are let into the corral. A bull is unleashed and charges first at the steers, then at a man in the crowd who distracts him. Another bull is unleashed but does not get distracted by two men who run out; instead, it gores a steer. Brett is fascinated. The other steer befriends the other two bulls, then the last three bulls that are unloaded, and they form a herd. The gored steer is not part of their herd.
Jake's party leaves to go to a café. Jake explains that the bulls are dangerous only when alone or in small groups, not in large groups. Cohn says "'It's no life being a steer,'" and Mike humiliates him, saying Cohn follows Brett around like a steer and that he is not wanted. Bill leads Cohn away, and Brett is angry at Mike. Mike is somewhat subdued, but he discusses Cohn's behavior in San Sebastian. While he knows Brett has affairs -- she tells him -- he finds Cohn overly pathetic. Mike says that Cohn calls Brett "Circe" (after the beautiful character in Homer's The Odyssey who turns men into swine). Jake suggests they go and eat, and when Mike meets Cohn again, to pretend nothing had happened and to blame it on drunkenness.
Jake finds Bill upstairs and they discuss the fragile state of Cohn, who is in his room, as well as the plan for the next couple of days -- more bull-fighting and the start of the siesta. Everyone has a pleasant dinner together, pretending nothing happened. Cohn stares at Brett throughout the meal. Drunk, Jake feels happy and that everyone is nice.
Hemingway draws numerous parallels between bull-fighting and sexuality. The greatest is one that Mike points out; Cohn is similar to the steer, a castrated, weak animal ruled by the powerful, violent bulls. Just the like the steer who is kept from joining the herd in the unloading, Cohn is the constant outsider, the Jew in a crowd of Protestants and Catholics, the emasculated follower of the masculine Brett.
But there is another personified steer who escapes inquiry here: Jake. Jake resembles the other steer who manages to join the inner circle of the bulls, then turns on the other steer with them. He does not defend Cohn when Mike humiliates him, for to do so would be to admit that he, too, is a fellow steer who follows Brett.
A last note about the bull-fighting is that Jake is a confirmed aficionado. It is the only activity for which he has unreserved passion -- he admits that even drinking and Brett have many downfalls -- and which seems to make him happy. But he is only an observer, albeit an informed, devoted one, and not a participant. Brett, on the other hand, is more closely aligned to the bulls, identifying with their power. We will later see, however, that she is associated less with the bulls than with the matador; she is a true participant, not merely an aficionado.
We also understand more deeply Brett and Mike's relationship. Mike takes her for granted -- while Brett previously told Jake she does not write letters to Mike, here she reveals that he simply does not read them -- and he seems to be aroused by the attention she receives from other men. Brett is allowed to have affairs, after all, but he seems to care about them only when the men are less manly than he is, as he finds Cohn.
Indeed, this episode is notable for the way men turn against each other when women are in the picture. The camaraderie Jake and Bill have with the Englishman Harris is the last of the back-to-nature male bonding; once Brett is present, Mike viciously humiliates Cohn to preserve his own sense of masculinity.
Mike is especially aware of the fragility of his friendships; he even mentions his "'False friends'" who led him into bankruptcy. This is one of the novel's most explicit critiques of the shallow relationships prevalent in the lives of the Lost Generation. They base their friendships around money, and only rarely is it in good faith, as when Harris insists on buying Jake and Bill drinks because it gives him pleasure. His gesture is similar to the count's habit of picking up the tab, but the count does so more to impress Brett and because it gives him a sense of power, not because he enjoys the camaraderie. Jake makes the ultimate indictment of these false friendships, and of his passive attitude toward them: "Under the wineIt seemed they were all such nice people." Jake is as much a target of Mike's vitriol as is Cohn, but so long as alcohol is present, everything is smoothed over; Jake even suggests Mike blame his actions on alcohol.
A corollary to these false friendships is the brief discussion of the illusion of valor in the war. As Mike's story about the medals demonstrates, he didn't have to win them for honor in combat; he could simply pick them up from a tailor and hand them out to impress girls. Nevertheless, having been in the war gives the men some kind of valorous pass; Cohn was not a soldier, and as such is deemed lesser. But knowing that what they took part in was not truly valorous, the men, especially Jake, seek a greater sense of valor, a place of honest heroism: they will find it in bull-fighting.
Jake does not remember the later events of the night very clearly. He recounts them: he remembers reading in bed until he heard Brett and Cohn say good night outside his door. They went to their separate rooms, and Jake tried to go to sleep, though he found he could not face the dark while thinking about Brett. He cursed her, then thought about how one must be in love with a woman to be friends with her. He thought more about how one must always pay for something good, though he recognized that soon this philosophy would seem silly to him. Still, he just wanted to know "how to live in it." Though he wished Mike were not so cruel to Cohn while drunk, he admitted to enjoying it. But he still wished Mike would stop, as it makes Jake feel bad about himself for enjoying it. He read again and fell asleep near daylight.
Pamplona gets ready the next two days for the fiesta. The bull-ring is prepared, as well. Peasants arrive for the festivities. Jake and his friends live with more restraint. One day, he goes to church with Brett. The morning before the fiesta, Jake and his friends enjoy the fresh, cool air and the view of the mountains. Jake feels one cannot be upset on a day like that.
We get some of the deepest insights into Jake's thoughts in the first part of the chapter. Hemingway's writing here comes as close as it ever does to the new technique of stream-of-consciousness, developed in the Modernist novels of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner. While Hemingway's writing is in no way close to the frequently run-on prose of the other authors, he departs from his bare description of action in favor of interior description.
What is revealed are Jake's conflicted attitudes towards women, experience, and himself. He holds the cynical belief that everything in life comes at a steep price; whatever he has gained, he has somehow bought. Love, especially, operates under these economic conditions -- what Jake calls an "exchange of values," echoing Bill's philosophy in Chapter VIII. In the same way, Jake alternates between pleasure and self-loathing in the humiliation of Cohn. We can find the root of this disillusioned mindset in Jake's war experience. In exchange for the "worldly" experience of war, Jake gave up his masculinity. Not only that, but his war experience does not seem to have had any positive effects on him. No wonder Jake simply wants to know "how to live in it," how merely to survive in a cold world that pulls him in different directions.
Jake's description of the pleasant days before the fiesta, and especially of the last morning and his bare statement "That was the last day before the fiesta," foreshadows conflict arising in the fiesta. The ideal, pacifist atmosphere cannot survive long once the bulls, and their associations with violence, are reintroduced.