Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary

Ernest Hemingway

Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary

Thomas Hudson’s three sons (Young Tom, David, and Andrew) are coming to Bimini for the summer. David and Andrew’s mother had planned to take her sons to Europe but said nothing to Thomas Hudson. At first she said he could have the boys for Christmas vacation, but at last she compromised and said they could come for the first five weeks of the summer. Their older half-brother, Young Tom, will be in charge of them on the trip to join their mother in Europe. Then he will join his own mother in France, where she is filming a movie (although she would have preferred that he stay on Bimini with his father).

Thomas Hudson is grateful for the compromise and is looking forward to spending five weeks with his boys. He momentarily regrets divorcing Young Tom’s mother, but he realizes that it is the best thing. Everything in his life, except for his children, he has replaced with work. He has enough memories to keep him satisfied. Sometimes she goes to Cuba to fish or to the mountains in the fall. Occasionally he goes to New York to see his dealer, but more often than not his dealer comes to Bimini to see him. Half of his money goes to alimony; the rest keeps him secure enough. Despite his ambivalence toward success, Thomas Hudson has been successful in every area except marriage. He does not lack for female companionship but is always glad when the women are gone.

Thomas Hudson had to struggle to learn to discipline himself. Most of this discipline is targeted at his painting and his abstention from marriage. Joseph, his houseboy, interrupts his thoughts, suggesting that he end his work for the day. He offers to fix Thomas Hudson a drink, but Thomas Hudson says he intends to go down and have one at Mr. Bobby’s. Joseph objects to this planning, telling him that the mail has come. Thomas Hudson agrees to have a drink and read the mail before he goes down to Mr. Bobby’s.

Joseph assures Thomas Hudson that everything is ready for the boys’ arrival. He speaks of Andrew’s meanness. Thomas Hudson replies that Andrew started off mean. He tells Joseph to be a good example for the boys, but Joseph replies that the boys are an example to him. Thomas Hudson prepares to go down to Mr. Bobby’s. Joseph says that Mr. Roger has arrived on the boat and agrees to get a bed ready for him.