We learn through Chandler's attitude toward Corless, and Gallaher, the old workmate who he meets there, that "little" Chandler is a timid, priggish man too fearful to ever amount to anything but the colorless person he already is. He is associated with the color white, showing both his bland character...
We learn through Chandler's attitude toward Corless, and Gallaher, the old workmate who he meets there, that "little" Chandler is a timid, priggish man too fearful to ever amount to anything but the colorless person he already is. He is associated with the color white, showing both his bland character and his "lily-livered" cowardice.
Corless's, the place where he meets Gallaher, is a bar and restaurant that Chandler feels is too exotic—or perhaps too illicit, as it is identified with the theater—for him to have entered before. We learn he normally turns his head away when he passes by—he both desires it and yet is afraid of it. When he gets inside this colorful place—filled with "red and green" wine glasses—and finds Gallagher, Chandler will only order a whiskey that is very watered down, a symbol of his watered down life.
Chandler represses his desire to, like Gallagher, enjoy the sexual freedoms that Paris represents, insisting over and over that it is an "immoral" city. He blushes when Gallagher asks him about the " joys of connubial bliss," meaning the sexual pleasure Chandler is getting from being married. All of this suggests that Chandler is ashamed of his sexual desires.
Chandler realizes that his timidity stands in the way of having success like those which Gallagher has achieved. He wants to assert his manhood, but the best he can do is speculate that Gallaher might be married when they meet again, an idea that causes Gallaher to brag about his ability to marry a rich woman, further diminishing Chandler.
We learn that even buying a "pale blue" blouse as a gift for his wife is agony for him because he is so timid—and that he pays too much for it. As he looks at his wife, Annie's, photograph:
he found something mean in it. Why was it so unconscious and ladylike? The composure of the eyes irritated him. They repelled him and defied him: there was no passion in them, no rapture.
He feels dissatisfied with her and wonders why he married her. Yet what he thinks of her—despising her meanness, her good manners (she is "ladylike") and her lack of passion—are all qualities he shares, indicating he is filled with self-hatred.