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This story takes place immediately after World War I, a time of great hardship.
This is similar to Cohn's situation with his friends: he is not quite accepted by them and therefore becomes a loner. Jake also does this by trying to make peace and bring together each of the friends.
Also, after the bullfight, Cohn begins to claim that It's no life being a steer.? This connection allows the steer to portray Jake's mediating qualities. The bull charges at the steers but is distracted and does not hit either of them.
But her actions seem always to end up hurting her, and she runs back to Jake.
Jake knows that he will never be able to have her for his own, and he accepts this as fact.
Robert also could not stand to see Brett with another man, but he displayed this much differently. Behavior like his was impossible for Jake to respect and he hated this part of Robert.
Roberts presense bothered Jake even though they had been close friends. None of this would have even been a problem if life during that time had been a little more solid in a moral sense.
These are a very unusual group of feelings for a person to ave toward one person, but it was a very unusual time.
Jake knew of Roberts relationship with Brett, and it ate him up with envy, but at the same time he knew how it had ended.
Jake no doubt would have preferred to have it differently, but he is accepting of the way it stands.
The hardship and the poverty that is so widely spread in that area during the post war time causes the people to lower their moral standards.