Summary and Analysis Chapters 2 and 3
On his return to Paris, Hemingway finds the city has adjusted to the winter weather. He sees beauty now in the naked trees and the crisp, cold outdoors on the streets and in the gardens. There is comfort in the warmth of indoors, not the claustrophobic feeling that he conveyed in the first chapter. He works in his hotel room, which is not so miserable as it was before his trip to the mountains. There he also struggles successfully to write a new story. All he has to do, he states, is write “one true sentence,” and all the rest will follow.
Hemingway then goes into detail about his new friendship with Gertrude Stein, a fellow American expatriate who, along with her companion Alice B. Toklas (whom Hemingway does not name), has created an artistic gallery in their apartments. Hemingway and Hadley, having met them in the park, are invited to their salon and immediately make a connection with Stein and her partner. Thus Hemingway begins one of his strong, intellectual, literary friendships. Stein encourages Hemingway to eventually move away from journalism to fiction, with which Hemingway emphatically agrees.
Stein and Hemingway enter into a conversation about sex, specifically homosexuality, which Hemingway finds disgusting. He relates his previous experiences with aggressive homosexuals in his travels, as a child and again as a young man in Kansas City and Chicago. He also regrets discovering the sexual orientation of an old man “with lovely manners” he met during his hospital stay in Italy during World War I. Stein categorizes homosexuals into two groups: the “perverts” (such as the criminals he encountered in big cities) and the merely sad (such as the old man in Italy). To Stein, male homosexuality in itself is repulsive, unlike female homosexuality (Stein herself was a lesbian), which is presented as having a certain freedom from all that is disgusting. This double standard is not something with which Hemingway can agree, but he remains friends with Stein despite her sexuality.
Another close friend and mentor that Hemingway makes in Paris is Sylvia Beach, owner and proprietor of
(The entire section is 905 words.)