The Sun Also Rises


Chapter 1 to 4

Chapter 1 Summary

The novel opens with the narrator, Jake Barnes, giving a character sketch and biography of Robert Cohn. Cohn comes from a wealthy Jewish family and was educated at Princeton, where he was made to feel inadequate on account of being Jewish. He became a boxing champion while at Princeton, Jake tells us, as a way of compensating for his outsider status. After college he married “the first girl who was nice to him” and had three children. His wife left him for another man after five years of marriage, and Cohn, now low on money, moved to California, where he started a literary magazine. He then became involved with Francis Clyne, a controlling and ambitious woman who convinced him to move to Europe and write novels, as this was fashionable at the time, and Cohn could no longer afford to keep up the magazine. They have been living in Paris for the last two years, where Cohn writes, reads a lot of books, boxes at a gym and plays tennis. Jake Barnes is one of Cohn’s only two friends in Paris—being, as he says, Cohn’s “tennis friend.” At this point, Frances has become anxious about her looks fading and is determined that Cohn should marry her.

Having dinner one evening with Frances and Cohn, Jake catches a glimpse of Frances’ possessive and controlling attitude toward Cohn. The two men have been talking about taking a weekend trip together. When Jake suggests Strasbourg as a destination because he knows a girl there who could show them the town, Cohn kicks Jake repeatedly underneath the table. Jake finally notices Frances’ disapproving look and changes the subject. After dinner, Cohn follows Jake outside to explain that there is no way Frances would allow him to go on a trip that included another woman. Jake reflects to himself that “she [Frances] led him quite a life.”

Chapter 2 Summary

During the winter, Cohn takes a trip to New York and finds a publisher for his novel. When he returns to Paris, he has a newfound confidence based...

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