Book I, Chapter 3 Summary and Analysis
Georgette Hobin: a Paris prostitute
Mr. and Mrs. Braddocks: Cohn’s literary friends
Brett: Jake’s friend who is a sexually free alcoholic
Robert Prentiss: a rising novelist with the Braddocks
Lett: a homosexual who comes to the Bal with Brett and dances with Georgette
Madame Lavigne: proprietress/hostess/waitress at Foyot’s Restaurant
After Robert leaves the Napolitain, Georgette, a prostitute, walks past and begins a conversation with Jake. They go to dinner. While they are in the cab, Georgette begins to kiss Jake and puts her hand on his genitals. He stops her by saying he is sick. He later tells her he was hurt in the war.
While she and Jake are having dinner, they meet Cohn, Frances, Mr. and Mrs. Braddocks, and several others. Jake introduces Georgette, who instantly dislikes Frances. At dinner they discuss Paris before leaving for a dancing hall.
While Georgette is dancing, Jake gets a beer and stands in the doorway for fresh air. As he is standing there, two cabs of gay young men come in. With them is Brett, with whom Jake is in love.
The gay men decide it would be great sport to dance with Georgette since she is a true prostitute. Jake is infuriated rather than tolerant of them. He leaves as they are all taking turns. He is angry and sickened by what is happening.
Brett comes over, and Jake notices Robert staring at her. When he asks her to dance, she shows her apathy for him by first dancing with, then leaving with, Jake. Robert watches them all the time.
Jake and Brett leave in the taxi. Brett leans back in the corner of the cab with her eyes closed and says she has been miserable.
Brett’s introduction begins building relationships crucial to the outcome of the novel. Robert, who is already dissatisfied with his life, is ripe for love and instantly falls for Brett. Brett’s immediate apathy toward Robert is the same response she has even after their later affair. Brett is presented as happy-go-lucky. She lets down
the facade only to Jake in the cab at the end when she says she is “miserable.”
Jake’s being in the taxi with Georgette and Brett shows one major aspect of the novel. The characters are constantly moving about, like Hemingway’s “lost generation.” Throughout the novel, characters go by taxi, car, bus, or foot. This sometimes seemingly random movement represents the equally random lifestyles of the “lost generation,” always moving about but never fulfilling their quest for a better world.
Paris is presented as a wasteland in its perversions. Hemingway shows values of the “lost generation” reflected in Paris, which is the entire world, and there “isn’t anywhere else.” Clocks in the New York Herald Bureau window call attention to how America is represented in Paris by expatriates who have fled in reaction to the unsatisfying norms, such as the “dirty war.”
He shows a lack of traditional moral values when Georgette says, “Everybody’s sick.” Hemingway sees society as having an ¬illness, which Paris life represents. Jake reacts angrily to Prentiss’ question about seeing Paris as “amusing.” His reaction is so pronounced, Prentiss responds that he wishes he “had that faculty” to get angry. Jake’s anger shows his intensity of feeling about behavior that is undesirable.
Here in this Paris wasteland, traditional values do not operate, so Jake is sickened. He “was very angry” about the homosexuals who represent one aspect of a decadent society that does not see its own depravity. The homosexuals are infatuated with...
(The entire section is 912 words.)