The Sun Also Rises Chapter 6
In the evening Jake goes to meet Brett, as they agreed to last night. She never shows up, so Jake heads to the café to look for her. The taxi drives down a street Jake does not like, and he wonders why he doesn't like it. He thinks maybe he read something bad about the street, the way he thinks Cohn read something bad about Paris. Maybe something of Mencken's, he thinks.
The taxi arrives, and outside the café is Harvey Stone, a friend of Jake's. Harvey is a big gambler, and he looks unkempt. Jake sits down, and Harvey says he was looking for him, probably hoping for a loan. Harvey won't say why he was looking for Jake. Instead, he tells Jake that he hasn't eaten for five days. Jake remembers that Harvey won two hundred francs from him three days ago. Harvey says he's depressed. Jake offers him a hundred francs, which Harvey quickly accepts. Jake asks him if he wants to get dinner, but Harvey says he's too upset to eat. He has a few drinks instead. Jake, his dislike of the street still on his mind, asks Harvey if he knows Mencken, the newspaperman. Harvey does, and says he's quite funny.
They see Cohn coming towards them. Harvey tells Jake that Cohn is a moron, and then he says it to Cohn's face. Cohn, who especially dislikes being insulted, takes this very seriously. Harvey asks Cohn to answer a question immediately; the question is, what would he rather do if he could do anything? Cohn can't react that quickly; he starts to think, and Harvey gets annoyed. Cohn finally answers that he'd like to play football again, and Harvey, amused with such a simple answer to such a marvelous question, says: "'I misjudged you....You're not a moron. You're only a case of arrested development.'" Chapter 6, pg. 44 They argue some more, and Cohn tells Stone that maybe a punch would do him good, but Harvey doesn't care. He takes everything about this lightly, playing with Cohn. Jake asks Harvey to stay for drinks, but Harvey leaves to dine elsewhere.
Cohn complains about Harvey to Jake. Jake says that he likes Harvey, and Cohn should lighten up. Still unable to write, Cohn's confidence is slipping. Jake begins to think that maybe his depiction of Cohn has been unclear. He tells us that it was not until Cohn fell in love with Brett that he became so detached and troubled. He also says how cheerful Cohn is, and how much he likes tennis. Cohn is supposed to be Jake's friend, and he seems to feel bad for only bringing out his negative qualities.
Cohn has a date with Frances, and she arrives at their table. Frances wants to talk to Jake alone. She is acting funny, mentioning broken appointments and then Brett. She and Jake cross the street and sit down. Jake buys a copy of "The Paris Times" and hides behind it, before he asks Frances what is wrong. Cohn is going to leave her, she says. He promised to marry her, and she told everyone she was getting married, and now he doesn't want to. He feels like he hasn't really lived yet. Frances, who swears she doesn't want to marry a man who doesn't want to marry her, can't understand why this is happening now, after they've been together for three years. She's just gotten her divorce, and now she's afraid she's missed her chance to marry anyone else. Because she doesn't love Cohn, she feels like her time with him was a waste. She wanted children, but now, who knows? Cohn has everything, including children, and Frances rushed the divorce proceedings so much that she doesn't even get alimony. Jake is not overly sympathetic. He listens, and makes a few halfhearted comments. Frances is terribly cheerful, considering what they are discussing. She is nearly manic. They start back across the street, with Jake saying there's nothing he can do, and Frances asking him just not to tell Robert they discussed it.
Cohn, smiling, asks Frances what the secret is. She won't tell him, and he asks if it was about her trip to England. She tells Jake then how Robert is sending her to England to visit friends. Frances starts in for the kill. Robert is giving her two hundred pounds (not a lot) for the trip, she tells Jake, and she had to convince him to give her that much. She sarcastically comments on Cohn's generosity, but he just sits there, the smile gone, and silent. Jake cannot believe either of their behavior.
Cohn finally says something to Frances, and she starts in again. Robert is sending her to visit friends that don't even want to see her. It isn't a vacation, it's a way to get rid of her. Frances knows it, and suspects Brett is the cause. Taunting Robert, she tells them how her family will have to avoid his name, because they'll all know what has happened. She comments crazily on how much fun this will be. She turns to Jake and tells him it's really her fault. Robert had a secretary in California, and he rudely got rid of her for Frances, so why should she be surprised when she is gotten rid of too? Frances says Robert and the secretary were only friends, but what does that matter with a man who will do anything the right woman tells him to? Then Frances starts in on Robert, the writer. She tells him:
"'Don't have scenes with your young ladies. Try not to. Because you can't have scenes without crying, and then you pity yourself so much you can't remember what the other person's said....We all ought to make sacrifices for literature. Look at me. I'm going to England without a protest. All for literature.'" Chapter 6, pg. 50
She implies that Cohn is not a good writer, because he has to go out and find things to write about, whereas real writers use their imagination. She thinks the reason why Cohn won't marry her is because he likes the idea and the romance of having a mistress, and a wife can never equal that. Jake finally gets up to leave, and Cohn remains at the table, taking Frances' abuse in silence.