Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary

It is an exceptionally hot July evening, and a young man is at the bottom of the stairs after having left his garret room. He is thankful not to have met his landlady on the staircase. Though he is “hopelessly in debt” to the woman, he wants to avoid her for other reasons. He is not a coward, nor is he ashamed; however, lately he has been in an irritable, over-strained condition, which has caused him to be completely self-absorbed and isolated. In this state, he dreads meeting anyone at all. He is crushed by poverty and has stopped doing anything of practical importance; rather than have to spend his energy making up excuses, he does his best simply to avoid his landlady.

This evening as he leaves his house, his...

(The entire section is 788 words.)